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He defended the attacks on New York and Washington, saying, “America and its allies are massacring us in Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir, and Iraq.
The Muslims have the right to attack America in reprisal.” Six months later, when I met Mir in Pakistan, he told me that the Al Qaeda leader had, on that day, appeared to be in remarkably good spirits.
Kabul fell on November 12, and bin Laden, along with other Al Qaeda leaders, fled to Jalalabad, a compact city in eastern Afghanistan surrounded by lush fruit groves.
(He was quite familiar with the area, having maintained a compound in a Jalalabad suburb in the 1990s.) Tracking bin Laden closely was Gary Berntsen, a bear-sized CIA officer with a pronounced Long Island accent, who arrived in Kabul on the day it fell.
Berntsen had been serving in Latin America on September 11 when he was yanked to run the CIA’s fast-moving ground operations in Afghanistan.
It was a perfect job for an operative with a distinctly independent and aggressive style.
Otherwise (and apart from Tamerlan’s wife, a white Muslim convert chillingly portrayed by Melissa Benoist), nearly every minute of the film focuses on the resilient Americans who acted nobly in the face of terror.
An intense, jittery re-creation of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the four-day manhunt that followed, “Patriots Day” is the movie CBS Films was put on this earth to produce.
A couple decades earlier, such a headline-driven retelling of a traumatic news event might have been made expressly for the small screen, the way NBC rushed telepics like “In the Line of Duty: Ambush in Waco” onto its Sunday-night movie slot mere weeks after tragedy struck.
Four days before the fall of Kabul in November 2001, Osama bin Laden was still in town. Then, on November 8, he was in Kabul, despite the fact that U. forces and their Afghan allies were closing in on the city.
The Al Qaeda leader’s movements before and after September 11 are difficult to trace precisely, but, just prior to the attacks, we know that he appeared in Kandahar and urged his followers to evacuate to safer locations in anticipation of U. That morning, while eating a meal of meat and olives, he gave an interview to Hamid Mir, a Pakistani journalist who was writing his biography.