The recently released cache of U.S. reports from Afghanistan provide fleeting glimpses into the possible whereabouts of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the years since his escape from American forces at Tora Bora.
Documents released by the online whistleblower site Wikileaks and published in the British newspaper The Guardian quoted intelligence sources as saying bin Laden wanted al Qaeda operatives disguised as journalists to attack Afghan President Hamid Karzai during a news conference in 2004. In 2005, his financial adviser and an Afghan insurgent leader reportedly were dispatched to obtain rockets from North Korea to use against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
In 2006, he was reported to be attending monthly meetings in the Pakistani city of Quetta with fellow fugitives from the leadership of the Taliban, the Islamic militia that hosted al Qaeda when it controlled most of Afghanistan. Another report the same year states that he arranged a marriage for a valued lieutenant, a specialist in building roadside bombs.
Neither the documents cited only by the Guardian, which had advance access to the Wikileaks documents released Sunday, nor the information contained in them could be independently verified by CNN. The CIA would not comment on secret documents. But a U.S. counterterrorism official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said American authorities believe the al Qaeda leader "has gone into deep hiding."