was ordered to bring home bin Laden's head: former CIA officer
- - US spy chiefs ordered agents to deliver Osama bin Laden's severed head in a box of dry ice and hoist heads of other Al
Qaeda leaders on pikes, a retired field officer has disclosed.
In the days after the September 11 attacks in
2001, former CIA officer Gary Schroen was sent to Afghanistan to help the opposition Northern Alliance to topple bin Laden's
hosts the Taliban.
He has told National Public Radio that he stopped by the office of then-CIA counter terrorism
director Cofer Black for final instructions.
He said he was told: "'Your basic marching orders are to link up
with the Northern Alliance and get their cooperation militarily and they will take on the Taliban.
break the Taliban, your job is to capture bin Laden, kill him and bring his head back in a box full of dry ice'," Mr Schroden
quoted Mr Black as saying.
Mr Schroen was also ordered to kill other Al Qaeda leaders suspected in the plot,
which saw terrorists fly planes into the New York's World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000 people.
was the first time in 30 years with the CIA he had been ordered to set out to kill a target rather than try to bring them
in alive, Mr Schroen told NPR.
He said he told Mr Black: "Sir, those are the clearest orders I have ever received,
I can certainly make pikes out in the field but I don't know what I'll do about dry ice to bring the head back but we will
A week after the September 11 attacks, President George W Bush told reporters he wanted Osama
bin Laden and recalled wild west posters that demanded suspects "dead or alive".
But the suspected terror mastermind
was never caught.
Mr Schroen has told NPR that CIA operatives found it hard to get close enough to strike bin Laden,
partly due to his ability to move quickly around the country.
"We could never tell where the man was going to
be that night," Mr Schroen said.
Mr Schroen said he believes bin Laden is now hiding out in tribal areas of Pakistan.
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