by the Pentagon on Thursday, December 13, 2001:
Note: "OBL" is Osama bin Laden speaking.
(Transcript and annotations independently prepared by
George Michael, translator, Diplomatic
Language Services; and Dr. Kassem M. Wahba, Arabic
language program coordinator, School of
Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.
They collaborated on their translation
and compared it with translations done by the U.S.
government for consistency. There were no
inconsistencies in the translations.)
In mid-November, Osama Bin Laden spoke to a room of
supporters, possibly in Qandahar, Afghanistan. These
comments were video taped with the knowledge of Bin Laden
and all present.
Note: The tape is approximately one hour long and contains
three different segments: an original taping of a
visit by some people to the site of the downed U.S.
helicopter in Ghazni province (approximately 12 minutes
long); and two segments documenting a courtesy visit by
Bin Laden and his lieutenants to an unidentified
Shaykh, who appears crippled from the waist down. The
visit apparently takes place at a guesthouse in
Qandahar. The sequence of the events is reversed on the
tape- the end of his visit is in the beginning of the
tape with the helicopter site visit in the middle and the
start of the Osama bin Laden visit beginning
approximately 39 minutes into the tape. The tape is
transcribed below according to the proper sequence
Due to the quality of the original tape, it is NOT a
verbatim transcript of every word spoken during the
meeting, but does convey the messages and information
EDITOR’S NOTE: 39 minutes into tape, first segment of the
bin Laden meeting, begins after footage of
helicopter site visit.
Shaykh: (...inaudible...) You have given us weapons, you
have given us hope and we thank Allah for you.
We don’t want to take much of your time, but this is the
arrangement of the brothers. People now are
supporting us more, even those ones who did not support us
in the past, support us more now. I did not want
to take that much of your time. We praise Allah, we praise
Allah. We came from Kabul. We were very pleased
to visit. May Allah bless you both at home and the camp.
We asked the driver to take us, it was a night with a
full moon, thanks be to Allah. Believe me it is not in the
country side. The elderly...everybody praises what
you did, the great action you did, which was first and
foremost by the grace of Allah. This is the guidance of
Allah and the blessed fruit of jihad.
OBL: Thanks to Allah. What is the stand of the Mosques
there (in Saudi Arabia)?
Shaykh: Honestly, they are very positive. Shaykh Al-Bahrani
(phonetic) gave a good sermon in his class after
the sunset prayers. It was videotaped and I was supposed
to carry it with me, but unfortunately, I had to
OBL: The day of the events?
Shaykh: At the exact time of the attack on America,
precisely at the time. He (Bahrani) gave a very
impressive sermon. Thanks be to Allah for his blessings.
He (Bahrani) was the first one to write at war
time. I visited him twice in Al-Qasim.
OBL: Thanks be to Allah.
Shaykh: This is what I asked from Allah. He (Bahrani) told
the youth: “You are asking for martyrdom and
wonder where you should go (for martyrdom)?” Allah was
inciting them to go. I asked Allah to grant me to
witness the truth in front of the unjust ruler. We ask
Allah to protect him and give him the martyrdom, after
he issued the first fatwa. He was detained for
interrogation, as you know. When he was called in and
to sign, he told them, "don’t waste my time, I have
another fatwa. If you want me, I can sign both at the
OBL: Thanks be to Allah.
Shaykh: His position is really very encouraging. When I
paid him the first visit about a year and half ago, he
asked me, “How is Shaykh Bin-Ladin?” He sends you his
special regards. As far as Shaykh Sulayman ‘Ulwan
is concerned, he gave a beautiful fatwa, may Allah bless
him. Miraculously, I heard it on the Quran radio
station. It was strange because he (‘Ulwan) sacrificed his
position, which is equivalent to a director. It was
transcribed word-by-word. The brothers listened to it in
detail. I briefly heard it before the noon prayers. He
(‘Ulwan) said this was jihad and those people were not
innocent people (World Trade Center and Pentagon
victims). He swore to Allah. This was transmitted to
Shaykh Sulayman Al ((‘Umar)) Allah bless him.
OBL: What about Shaykh Al-((Rayan))?
Shaykh: Honestly, I did not meet with him. My movements
were truly limited.
OBL: Allah bless you. You are welcome.
Shaykh: (Describing the trip to the meeting) They smuggled
us and then I thought that we would be in
different caves inside the mountains so I was surprised at
the guest house and that it is very clean and
comfortable. Thanks be to Allah, we also learned that this
location is safe, by Allah’s blessings. The place is
clean and we are very comfortable.
OBL: (...Inaudible...) when people see a strong horse and
a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong
horse. This is only one goal; those who want people to
worship the lord of the people, without following that
doctrine, will be following the doctrine of Muhammad,
peace be upon him. (OBL quotes several short and
incomplete Hadith verses, as follows): “I was ordered to
fight the people until they say there is no god but
Allah, and his prophet Muhammad.” “Some people may ask:
why do you want to fight us?” “There is an
association between those who say: I believe in one god
and Muhammad is his prophet, and those who don’t
(...inaudible...) “Those who do not follow the true fiqh.
The fiqh of Muhammad, the real fiqh. They are just
accepting what is being said at face value.”
OBL: Those youth who conducted the operations did not
accept any fiqh in the popular terms, but they
accepted the fiqh that the prophet Muhammad brought. Those
young men (...inaudible...) said in deeds, in
New York and Washington, speeches that overshadowed all
other speeches made everywhere else in the
world. The speeches are understood by both Arabs and
non-Arabs-even by Chinese. It is above all the media
said. Some of them said that in Holland, at one of the
centers, the number of people who accepted Islam
during the days that followed the operations were more
than the people who accepted Islam in the last
eleven years. I heard someone on Islamic radio who owns a
school in America say: “We don’t have time to
keep up with the demands of those who are asking about
Islamic books to learn about Islam.” This event
made people think (about true Islam) which benefited Islam
Shaykh: Hundreds of people used to doubt you and few only
would follow you until this huge event happened.
Now hundreds of people are coming out to join you. I
remember a vision by Shaykh Salih Al-((Shuaybi)). He
said: “There will be a great hit and people will go out by
hundreds to Afghanistan.” I asked him (Salih): “To
Afghanistan?” He replied, “Yes.” According to him, the
only ones who stay behind will be the mentally impotent
and the liars (hypocrites). I remembered his saying that
hundreds of people will go out to Afghanistan. He had
this vision a year ago. This event discriminated between
the different types of followers.
OBL: (...Inaudible...) we calculated in advance the number
of casualties from the enemy, who would be killed
based on the position of the tower. We calculated that the
floors that would be hit would be three or four floors.
I was the most optimistic of them all. (...Inaudible...)
due to my experience in this field, I was thinking that
fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron
structure of the building and collapse the area where the
plane hit and all the floors above it only. This is all
that we had hoped for.
Shaykh: Allah be praised.
OBL: We were
at (...inaudible...) when the event took place. We had
notification since the previous Thursday
that the event would take place that day. We had finished
our work that day and had the radio on. It was
5:30 p.m. our time. I was sitting with Dr. Ahmad Abu-al-((Khair)).
Immediately, we heard the news that a
plane had hit the World Trade Center. We turned the radio
station to the news from Washington. The news
continued and no mention of the attack until the end. At
the end of the newscast, they reported that a plane
just hit the World Trade Center.
Shaykh: Allah be praised.
OBL: After a little while, they announced that another
plane had hit the World Trade Center. The brothers
who heard the news were overjoyed by it.
Shaykh: I listened to the news and I was sitting. We
didn't...we were not thinking about anything, and all of
a sudden, Allah willing, we were talking about how come we
didn't have anything, and all of a sudden the
news came and everyone was overjoyed and everyone until
the next day, in the morning, was talking about
what was happening and we stayed until four o'clock,
listening to the news every time a little bit different,
everyone was very joyous and saying “Allah is great,”
“Allah is great,” “We are thankful to Allah,” “Praise
Allah.” And I was happy for the happiness of my brothers.
That day the congratulations were coming on the
phone non-stop. The mother was receiving phone calls
continuously. Thank Allah. Allah is great, praise be to
Allah. (Quoting the verse from the Quran)
Shaykh: “Fight them, Allah will torture them, with your
hands, he will torture them. He will deceive them and
he will give you victory. Allah will forgive the
believers, he is knowledgeable about everything.”
Shaykh: No doubt it is a clear victory. Allah has bestowed
on us...honor on us...and he will give us blessing
and more victory during this holy month of Ramadan. And
this is what everyone is hoping for. Thank Allah
America came out of its caves. We hit her the first hit
and the next one will hit her with the hands of the
believers, the good believers, the strong believers. By
Allah it is a great work. Allah prepares for you a great
reward for this work. I'm sorry to speak in your presence,
but it is just thoughts, just thoughts. By Allah, who
there is no god but him. I live in happiness,
happiness...I have not experienced, or felt, in a long
remember, the words of Al-Rabbani, he said they made a
coalition against us in the winter with the infidels like
the Turks, and others, and some other Arabs. And they
surrounded us like the days...in the days of the
prophet Muhammad. Exactly like what's happening right now.
But he comforted his followers and said, "This
is going to turn and hit them back." And it is a mercy for
us. And a blessing to us. And it will bring people back.
Look how wise he was. And Allah will give him blessing.
And the day will come when the symbols of Islam will
rise up and it will be similar to the early days of Al-Mujahedeen
and Al-Ansar (similar to the early years of
Islam). And victory to those who follow Allah. Finally
said, if it is the same, like the old days, such as Abu
and Othman and Ali and others. In these days, in our
times, that it will be the greatest jihad in the history
Islam and the resistance of the wicked people.
Shaykh: By Allah my Shaykh. We congratulate you for the
great work. Thank Allah.
Tape ends here.
Second segment of Bin Laden’s visit, shows up at the front
of the tape.
OBL: Abdallah Azzam, Allah bless his soul, told me not to
record anything (...inaudible...) so I thought that
was a good omen, and Allah will bless us
(...inaudible...). Abu-Al-Hasan Al-((Masri)), who appeared
Al-Jazeera TV a couple of days ago and addressed the
Americans saying: “If you are true men, come down
here and face us.” (...inaudible...) He told me a year
ago: “I saw in a dream, we were playing a soccer game
against the Americans. When our team showed up in the
field, they were all pilots!” He said: “So I wondered if
that was a soccer game or a pilot game? Our players were
pilots.” He (Abu-Al-Hasan) didn’t know anything
about the operation until he heard it on the radio. He
said the game went on and we defeated them. That was
a good omen for us.
Shaykh: May Allah be blessed.
Unidentified Man Off Camera: Abd Al Rahman Al-(Ghamri)
said he saw a vision, before the operation, a
plane crashed into a tall building. He knew nothing about
Shaykh: May Allah be blessed!
Sulayman ((Abu Guaith)): I was sitting with the Shaykh in
a room, then I left to go to another room where
there was a TV set. The TV broadcasted the big event. The
scene was showing an Egyptian family sitting in
their living room, they exploded with joy. Do you know
when there is a soccer game and your team wins, it
was the same expression of joy. There was a subtitle that
read: “In revenge for the children of Al Aqsa’,
Osama Bin Ladin executes an operation against America.” So
I went back to the Shaykh (meaning OBL) who
was sitting in a room with 50 to 60 people. I tried to
tell him about what I saw, but he made gesture with his
hands, meaning: “I know, I know…”
OBL: He did not know about the operation. Not everybody
knew (...inaudible...). Muhammad ((Atta)) from
the Egyptian family (meaning the Al Qa’ida Egyptian
group), was in charge of the group.
Shaykh: A plane crashing into a tall building was out of
anyone's imagination. This was a great job. He was
one of the pious men in the organization. He became a
martyr. Allah bless his soul.
Shaykh (Referring to dreams and visions): The plane that
he saw crashing into the building was seen before
by more than one person. One of the good religious people
has left everything and come here. He told me,
“I saw a vision, I was in a huge plane, long and wide. I
was carrying it on my shoulders and I walked from the
road to the desert for half a kilometer. I was dragging
the plane.” I listened to him and I prayed to Allah to
help him. Another person told me that last year he saw,
but I didn't understand and I told him I don't
understand. He said, “I saw people who left for
jihad...and they found themselves in New York...in
and New York.” I said, “What is this?” He told me the
plane hit the building. That was last year. We haven't
thought much about it. But, when the incidents happened he
came to me and said, “Did you see...this is
strange.” I have another man...my god...he said and swore
by Allah that his wife had seen the incident a
She saw the plane crashing into a building...that was
unbelievable, my god.
OBL: The brothers, who conducted the operation, all they
knew was that they have a martyrdom operation and
we asked each of them to go to America but they didn’t
know anything about the operation, not even one letter.
But they were trained and we did not reveal the operation
to them until they are there and just before they
boarded the planes.
OBL: (...inaudible...) then he said: Those who were
trained to fly didn’t know the others. One group of people
did not know the other group. (...inaudible...) (Someone
in the crowd asks OBL to tell the Shaykh about the
dream of ((Abu-Da’ud)).
OBL: We were at a camp of one of the brother’s guards in
Qandahar. This brother belonged to the majority of
the group. He came close and told me that he saw, in a
dream, a tall building in America, and in the same
dream he saw Mukhtar teaching them how to play karate. At
that point, I was worried that maybe the secret
would be revealed if everyone starts seeing it in their
dream. So I closed the subject. I told him if he sees
another dream, not to tell anybody, because people will be
upset with him. (Another person’s voice can be
heard recounting his dream about two planes hitting a big
OBL: They were overjoyed when the first plane hit the
building, so I said to them: be patient.
OBL: The difference between the first and the second plane
hitting the towers was twenty minutes. And the
difference between the first plane and the plane that hit
the Pentagon was one hour.
Shaykh: They (the Americans) were terrified thinking there
was a coup. [Note: Ayman Al-Zawahri says first
he commended OBL's awareness of what the media is saying.
Then he says it was the first time for them
(Americans) to feel danger coming at them.] OBL (reciting
a poem): I witness that against the sharp blade
They always faced difficulties and stood together... When
the darkness comes upon us and we are bit by a
Sharp tooth, I say... “Our homes are flooded with blood
and the tyrant Is freely wandering in our homes”...
And from the battlefield vanished The brightness of swords
and the horses... And over weeping sounds now
We hear the beats of drums and rhythm… They are storming
his forts And shouting: “We will not stop our
raids Until you free our lands”...