Interviews of Osama bin Laden

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Since the early 1990s, several interviews of Osama bin Laden have appeared in the global media. Among these was an interview by Middle East specialist Robert Fisk.[1] In the interviews, Bin Laden acknowledges having instigated bombings in Khobar and Riyadh, but denies involvement with both the 1993 and 2001 attacks on the WTC towers in New York.

Like the videos of Osama bin Laden, the interviews' authenticity is sometimes regarded as suspect.

Bin Laden himself mentioned some of the interviews directly in a 2004 video, saying "you can read this, if you wish, in my interview with Scott in Time Magazine in 1996, or with Peter Arnett on CNN in 1997, or my meeting with John Weiner in 1998."[2]

The Independent: 1993 and 1997[edit]

1993 newspaper article on Osama bin Laden by Robert Fisk.

Bin Laden gave an interview to the Independent newspaper's Robert Fisk in 1993. This was the first he had ever given to a Western journalist.[3] It was titled "Anti-Soviet warrior puts his army on the road to peace," and related to bin Laden and his recruited mujahideen's road building in Sudan.

Fisk again interviewed Bin Laden on March 20, 1997; Bin Laden said of his operations at the time "We are still at the beginning of our military action against the American forces."[4][5]

CNN: 1997[edit]

Peter Arnett of CNN interviewed bin Laden in March 1997 after Bin Laden declared jihad on the United States. Asked by Arnett, "What are your future plans?", Bin Laden said, "You'll see them and hear about them in the media, God willing".[6][7]

Hamid Mir: 1997, 1998 and 2001[edit]

Hamid Mir interviewing al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Hamid Mir was the first Pakistani journalist to interview Osama bin Laden. He first interviewed Bin Laden for the Daily Pakistan in March 1997, in a cave of Tora Bora mountains in eastern Afghanistan. Mir interviewed Bin Laden for the second time for Ausaf in May 1998, in a hideout near the Kandahar International Airport. Mir was the first and the last journalist to interview Bin Laden after September 11 attacks. He interviewed Bin Laden for the third time for Dawn and Ausaf on 8 November 2001, at an undisclosed location near Kabul.[8][9][10][11]

ABC: 1998[edit]

A recorded interview in May 1998, a little over two months before the U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, shows bin Laden answering questions posed by some of his followers at a mountaintop camp in southern Afghanistan. In the latter part of the interview, ABC reporter John Miller asks further questions.[12]

Time: 1999[edit]

Rahimullah Yusufzai, a journalist for Pakistan's The News International, TIME, and ABC News, in 1999 secured a four-hour interview with bin Laden in Afghanistan's Helmand province. During Yusufzai's late-night conversation, bin Laden appeared to be in good health, though he admitted to a sore throat and a bad back. He continually sipped water from a cup, and Yusufzai caught him on videotape walking with the aid of a stick. This latter footage was erased by bin Laden's bodyguards.[13] The interview appeared in the 11 January 1999 issue of Time Asia.

Ummat: 2001[edit]

The Daily Ummat is said to have interviewed Osama bin Laden weeks after the September 11 attacks on the United States.[14][15][16] In the interview bin Laden denies his involvement in the attacks; the interview was relayed in English by the BBC monitoring service.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Berube, Michael (2009). The Left at War. NYU Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-8147-9984-0. Quoted during interview by Radio B92
  2. ^ "Full transcript of bin Ladin's speech". aljazeera. Retrieved 29 November 2009.
  3. ^ Fisk, Robert (6 December 1993). "Anti-Soviet warrior puts his army on the road to peace". The Independent. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
  4. ^ Fisk, Robert (2001-09-15). "Osama bin Laden: The godfather of terror?". The Independent. London. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  5. ^ Fisk 1996 interview transcript
  6. ^ "Peter Arnett: Osama bin Laden and returning to Afghanistan". CNN. 2001-12-05. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  7. ^ Arnett interview transcript
  8. ^ Mir, Hamid (3 May 2011). "The Osama bin Laden I knew". The News International. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  9. ^ Ali, Syed Hamad (9 March 2009). "The man who interviewed Osama bin Laden... 3 times". The Independent. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  10. ^ Mohamed Shaheeb, Ahmed Zahir (20 April 2002). "Hamid Mir — the last journalist to interview Osama bin Laden". Huvaas. Maldives Culture. Archived from the original on 23 December 2008. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Osama claims he has nukes: If US uses N-arms it will get same response". Dawn. 10 November 2001. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Interview". Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  13. ^ "Wrath of God Osama bin Laden lashes out against the West". Time. 11 January 1999. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  14. ^ "The Al-Qa'idah group had nothing to do with the 11 September attacks". Khilafah. 28 September 2001. Archived from the original on November 16, 2001. Retrieved 16 November 2001.
  15. ^ BBC: International Reports: Full text of Pakistani paper's "exclusive" interview with Usamah Bin-Ladin. Newsbank Archive.
  16. ^ Associated Press: Bin Laden reportedly said group will thrive. September 28, 2001.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]