Osama bin Laden bodyguards

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American officials have reported that the late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had numerous bodyguards. They reported that the detainees held in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp included at least 30 of Bin Laden's bodyguards.[1]

How long Osama bin Laden had known an individual before he would trust him to be a bodyguard has been a topic of debate. According to Steve Coll, in his book Ghost Wars,[2][3]

Bin Laden practiced intensive operational security. He was wary of telephones. He allowed no Afghans into his personal bodyguard, only Arabs he had known and trusted for many years.

Historian Andy Worthington, author of The Guantanamo Files, has pointed out that many of those Guantanamo analysts characterized as Osama bin Laden bodyguards had only been in Afghanistan for weeks.

According to Graeme Steven and Rohan Gunaratna, in Counterterrorism: A Reference Handbook, Ali Mohammad, formerly a captain in the Egyptian army, who became an American citizen and a sergeant in the US Special Forces, provided the initial training to the early cohort of Osama bin Laden's bodyguards.[4]

One source of the allegations was Guantanamo captive Mohammed al Qahtani.[1] Al Qahtani was believed to be one of the 20 hijackers. The DoD acknowledges he was subjected to "extended interrogation techniques, including two months of sleep-deprivation". Other sources described his treatment as torture. After this, he is reported to have denounced 30 other Guantanamo captives as being bodyguards of Osama Bin Laden.[citation needed]

On April 23, 2010, Benjamin Weiser, writing in The New York Times, reported that a newly released 52-page interrogation summary, published during Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani's civilian trial, revealed new details about the life of an Osama Bin Laden bodyguard.[5] According to Weiser, the interrogation summary asserted that Ghailani said he was told Bin Laden had personally requested he agree to serve as one of his bodyguards; that he was asked twice to be a bodyguard; and that he did not believe bin Laden had actually personally requested him. According to Weiser the interrogation summary asserted Ghailani had served as a bodyguard for approximately one year, and he was one of approximately fifteen bodyguards. According to Weiser the interrogation summary asserted that Ghailani was armed with an AK-47, and that during that year he spoke with Bin Laden numerous times. According to Weiser the interrogation summary asserted that Ghailani and several other individuals who served with him as bodyguards were among those who later became hijackers in the September 11 attacks.

List of alleged Osama Bin Laden bodyguards
id name accuser notes
26 Fahed Abdullah Ahmad Ghazi JTF-GTMO based on unknown source(s)
37 Abd al Malik Abd al Wahab JTF-GTMO based on unknown source(s)
  • One of the allegations he faced, during his Tribunal, was:[8]
"The detainee was very close to Usama Bin Laden, and had been with him a long time. He was a known Usama Bin Laden guard and errand boy and was frequently seen at Osama Bin Laden's side. Also the detainee attended various other training camps and resided at a Kandahar, Afghanistan guesthouse."
45 Ali Ahmad Muhammad Al Rahizi JTF-GTMO based on unknown source(s)
  • During both his Tribunal and Review Board hearing he faced the allegation: "The detainee has been identified as a bodyguard for Usama Bin Laden."[9][10]
175 Ghallab Bashir JTF-GTMO based on unknown source(s)
321 Ahmed Yaslam Said Kuman JTF-GTMO based on unknown source(s)
"The detainee served on the front line and was assumed to be a bodyguard for Usama Bin Laden."
10012 Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani JTF-GTMO interrogation
  • Allegedly confessed to spending a year as one of approximately 15 Osama Bin Laden bodyguards.[5]
Nasir Ahmad Nasir al-Bahri
Amin al-Haq
Yusef al-Ayeri
Shadi Abdalla Germany, USA
  • Detained in Germany, released into a witness protection program, and removed from the United Nations 1267 list, after he pleaded guilty to lesser charges and agreed to testify against other suspects.[17]


  1. ^ a b "transcribed excerpt". FOX News Sunday. June 12, 2005.
  2. ^ Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001. Penguin Books. 2005. pp. 342, 376, 396, 496, 483, 498. ISBN 9780143034667. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
  3. ^ Dan Caldwell (2011). Vortex of Conflict: U.S. Policy Toward Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. Stanford University Press. p. 131. ISBN 9780804777490. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
  4. ^ Graeme C. S. Steven, Rohan Gunaratna (2004). Counterterrorism: A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO Books. p. 43. ISBN 9781851096664. Retrieved 2012-05-06. Second, several former security forces personnel from Egypt, Algeria, and the United States participated in the anti-Soviet and the global jihad campaigns that followed. For instance, an Egyptian captain named Ali Mohammad (who later joined the U.S. Special Forces as a sergeant) was Al Qaeda's principal military instructor in Afghanist, Sudan, Somalia, and Bosnia and also trained Osama bin Laden's bodyguard contingent.
  5. ^ a b Benjami Weiser (2010-04-23). "Court Filing Sheds Light on Bin Laden Bodyguard". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2013-01-04. Retrieved 2010-04-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Fahed Abdullah Ahmad Ghazi's Combatant Status Review Tribunal - pages 62-67
  7. ^ Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Fahed Abdullah Ahmad Ghazi's Administrative Review Board hearing - page 11
  8. ^ documents (.pdf) from Abd al Malik Abd al Wahab's Combatant Status Review Tribunal
  9. ^ documents (.pdf) from Ali Ahmad Muhammad Al Rahizi's Combatant Status Review Tribunal
  10. ^ Factors for and against the continued detention (.pdf) Archived 2008-07-16 at the Wayback Machine of Ali Ahmad Muhammad Al Rahizi Administrative Review Board - page 38
  11. ^ Factors for and against the continued detention (.pdf) of Ghallab Bashir Administrative Review Board - page 103
  12. ^ Factors for and against the continued detention (.pdf) Archived 2008-05-07 at the Wayback Machine of Ahmed Yaslam Said Kuman Administrative Review Board - page 65
  13. ^ "Transcript: Bin Ladin's Former 'Bodyguard' Interviewed on Al-Qa'ida Strategies". Al-Quds al-Arabi. Archived from the original on 2009-02-16. Retrieved 2009-02-16. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  14. ^ Daniel Schorn (2006-04-02). "Dire Prediction From Osama's Bodyguard". CBS News. Retrieved 2012-05-05. 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon traveled to Yemen, at the tip of the Arabian peninsula, to meet a man who, for a long time, was bin Laden's personal bodyguard.
  15. ^ Tucker Reals (2011-09-29). "Pakistan frees Osama bin Laden bodyguard". CBS News. Archived from the original on 2012-05-05. Retrieved 2012-05-05. How much operational information al-Haq might actually have been exposed to as a member of bin Laden's security detail is unclear. Pakistani intelligence sources tell Bokhari he was merely one of many bodyguards to the terror leader, and was not privy to valuable information. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  16. ^ "Shabaab leader recounts al Qaeda's role in Somalia in the 1990s". Long War Journal. 2011-12-30. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  17. ^ "Former bin Laden bodyguard removed from UN terror suspect blacklist". New York Times. 2005-01-05. Retrieved 2012-05-06. A former bodyguard of Osama bin Laden who became an informer for the German government and who was recently freed from prison in Germany has been removed from a list of suspected terrorists whose personal assets have been frozen by the United Nations.

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