Clinton ordered assassination of Bin Laden


Former US president Mr Bill Clinton has admitted that he ordered the capture and possible assassination of Osama bin Laden, who Washington believes masterminded the September 11th attacks.

Mr Clinton told reporters in New York that he gave the go-ahead for the clandestine operation following the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam -attacks for which bin Laden has since been indicted in the United States.

"We did everything we could," Mr Clinton said. "I authorized the arrest and if necessary, the killing of Osama bin Laden, and we actually made contact with a group inside Afghanistan to do it. They were unsuccessful," he added.

Mr Clinton said that his administration also began training commandoes for a possible ground assault aimed at capturing or killing bin Laden, but that adequate intelligence and support from key international governments was lacking.

"We did everything we could, everything that I thought appropriate," he said.

The Clinton administration fingered bin Laden following the attacks on the US embassies in Africa and vowed vengeance against him.

The United States launched stinging attacks on bin Laden's base in Afghanistan, where he is a "guest" of the Taliban regime, as well as on a target in Sudan, which turned out to be a pharmaceutical factory.

Despite Washington's long-running attempts to take bin Laden, a millionaire Saudi dissident who has vowed to target the United States, he has eluded justice, staying out of site, apparently in Afghanistan.

Mr Clinton, who left office in January after eight years in power, said he felt President George W Bush was handling the crisis provoked by the terror raids on New York, Washington "in a strong way."