Dead or Alive: Hunting Osama Bin Laden

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/4626666/4626691" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript
Gary Schroen, relaxing at Lake Tahoe, near his home in Reno, Nevada. April 2005.

Gary Schroen relaxing at Lake Tahoe, near his home in Reno, Nev., in April. Mary Louise Kelly, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Mary Louise Kelly, NPR
Schroen and his team often operated from the town of Barak, in the Panjshir Valley. i

Schroen and his team often operated from the town of Barak, in the Panjshir Valley. Geoff Gaudreault, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Geoff Gaudreault, NPR
Schroen and his team often operated from the town of Barak, in the Panjshir Valley.

Schroen and his team often operated from the town of Barak, in the Panjshir Valley.

Geoff Gaudreault, NPR
This compound, 35 miles from the Taliban frontlines, served as an early CIA base. i

This compound, 35 miles from the Taliban frontlines, served as a base for early CIA efforts to locate bin Laden. Gary Shroen hide caption

itoggle caption Gary Shroen
This compound, 35 miles from the Taliban frontlines, served as an early CIA base.

This compound, 35 miles from the Taliban frontlines, served as a base for early CIA efforts to locate bin Laden.

Gary Shroen

Hear Part II of the Series

Gary Schroen is one of the CIA's most respected and experienced spies. Two days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, his bosses handed him a new mission targeting Osama bin Laden: "Bring his head back in a box" is the phrase Schroen remembers. Five days later, the veteran operative and his six-man team were on a plane.

They were the first Americans to enter Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. Over the next few weeks, Schroen paid $5 million in bribes to Afghan commanders, paved the way for U.S. military forces to enter the country, and armed anti-al Qaeda fighters with silencer-equipped machine guns and grenades.

Schroen's work with the Northern Alliance and smaller groups led to some successes, but he says his team never got close to killing the al Qaeda leader — or his top deputy, Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was reportedly in the eastern section of Kabul.

Books Featured In This Story

First In

An Insider's Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan

by Gary C. Schroen

Hardcover, 379 pages | purchase

Purchase Featured Book

Title
First In
Subtitle
An Insider's Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan
Author
Gary C. Schroen

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.