The People September 30, 2001
THE WORLD FIGHTS BACK
REVEALED: BIN LADEN'S LAIR
EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS FROM SPACE SHOW ASTONISHING TERROR HQ THAT TROOPS WILL AIM TO WIPE OUT
By Jon Carter
Space Imaging's IKONOS satellite one-meter resolution image of the Darunta terrorist training complex in Afghanistan.
The pictures, taken from the commercial satellite Ikonos, pinpointed Bin Laden's huge and heavily guarded HQ in the Darunta region, eight miles from the city of Jalalabad. A military expert told the Sunday People last night: "They show just what our forces will be up against if they attack."
The photos - clear enough to pick out recruits marching along a track in single file - show:
-A COMPLEX of camps covering a quarter of a square mile. Intelligence chiefs think this is where some of the terrorists who attacked US embassies in Africa and an American warship were trained. The area is big enough to contain a dairy farm with 4,000 cattle to feed Bin Laden's recruits.
-ENTRANCES to a labyrinth of 14 tunnels linking dozens of bunkers built in the 1980s to protect against attacks from the Russians. They contain training centres and probably also massive caches of chemical and conventional weapons. There are many escape exits.
-GUN emplacements and surface-to-air missile sites dug into the hillsides. There is even a suspected helipad from which Bin Laden may have fled in 1998 when America launched cruise missiles against his bases after the embassy attacks.
The complex is one of about 30 boltholes where Bin Laden may be lurking and its camps present a prime target for the SAS, American special forces and Allied jets.
The key camp on the site is named Abu Khabab after an Egyptian member of his al -Qa'eda terrorist group which runs it. Nearby is the Assadalah Abdul Rahman camp, whose blind father Omar was jailed in America for plotting to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993.
The Taliban Area, run by the religious militia that controls most of Afghanistan, is mostly used by government officials. There is also the Hizbi Islami Camp, operated by a group of Pakistani extremists fighting in Kashmir.
The incredible photos were released by defence think tank globalsecurity.org.
Tim Brown, an analyst for the organisation, said: "They give us an insight into how the hunt for Bin Laden is likely to unfold and what our forces are going to be up against. "The site has protection from air attacks. The terrorists can stockpile weapons and equipment and train in secret."
Even more chillingly, recent spy satellite pictures of Afghanistan showed hundreds of dead animals outdoors - fuelling speculation that biological weapons were being tested.
DEATH SQUAD ON MOVE
THE satellite even pinpointed a a squad of 50 terror recruits as they trooped single-file over a rough track in Bin Laden's mountain hideout. An Army-style truck was also spotted. Recruits are shown guerilla tactics learnt by the Taliban during the Russian occupation.
A SMALL hilltop has been levelled next to tunnel exits to provide what appears to be a make-shift helicopter landing pad. Intelligence sources believe it could provide a rapid getaway for Bin Laden if the area is hit by sudden Allied strikes from the air or ground.
DOZENS of tunnel entrances big enough for vehicles can be seen on hillsides. They lead to bunkers thought to contain huge stockpiles of weapons and ammunition - protected by bomb-proof steel doors and reinforced concrete. This is where our forces will aim their Cavebuster missiles (below) to destroy Bin Laden's lair.
THIS refuge is run by the religious millitia that controls most of the country. Government officials are thought to be housed there. They give Bin Laden a haven because he is an expert in the lucrative trade in opium that Russian gangsters refine into heroin.
ASSADALAH ABDUL RAHMAN'S CAMP
THIS is just one of the camps revealed in the astonishingly clear satellite pictures. It is operated by the son of blind cleric Omar Abdul Rahman, who was jailed in the United States for plotting to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993.
HIZBI ISLAMI CAMP
A GROUP of extremists from neighbouring Pakistan operate from this camp as they fight in Kashmir. Intelligence services calculate that there are about 3,500 fundamentalist Pakistanis based in Afghanistan in addition to Bin Laden's fanatical followers.
ABU KHABAB CAMP
THE key camp in the complex is heavily fortified. It is thought to be used to store explosives and train terrorist recruits in their use. There may also be biological and chemical weapons stolen from the former Soviet Union's Cold War arsenal.
Copyright 2001 MGN Ltd.