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KHALID SHEIKH MUHAMMAD (1960

KHALID SHEIKH MUHAMMAD (1960- ) Khalid Sheikh Muhammad-or KSM as he came to be known in the Western intelligence community-is a Kuwaiti citizen of Pakistani origin According to theUS government’s The 9/11 Commission Report, “no one exemplifies the model of the terrorist entrepreneur more clearly than Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the principal of the 9/11 attacks” Like his nephew, Ramzi Youssef, KSM grew up in Kuwait but traces his ethnic lineage to the Balochistan province of Pakistan He joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1976, at the age of 16, but went to the United States for a degree in mechanical engineering which he was awarded in December 1986 by North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University He visited Pakistan for the first time in 1987 during the concluding phase of the Afghan war against the Soviet occupation He was introduced in Peshawar to Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, head of the Hizbul Ittehad El-Islamia, one of the seven groups of mujahideen who were fighting against the Soviet Union He received military training at a school run by Sayyaf’s group, which he put to use fighting alongside the Islamic mujahideen Bosnia In 1992, he became involved in Ramzi Youssef’s plans to bomb the World Trade Center in New York



According to the 9/11 Commission Report, “KSM’s animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experiences there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with US foreign policy favoring Israel” In 1994, he joined Youssef to plan the “Bojinka plot”-the intended bombing of 12 US commercial passenger jets over the Pacific during a two-day span The plan was aborted following action by the US and Filipino intelligence agenciesKSM moved to Pakistan in 1996 and was introduced to Osama bin Laden who had also moved to Afghanistan at that time The two met at Tora Bora, a mountainous redoubt on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and began discussing the outline of a plan to use commercial aircraft to ram into important buildings in the United States In 1997, KSM settled his family in Karachi In 1997 KSM received bin Laden’s green light to proceed with the plans to launch terrorist attacks on America

The planning for the attacks continued for four years during which KSM helped to recruit the suicide bombers who would participate in the actual operationThe full extent of KSM’s involvement in the 9/11 came to be recognized after the attacks He then became the target of US and Pakistani intelligence services Moving from sanctuary to sanctuary in various cities of Pakistan, he was finally arrested in Rawalpindi, the headquarters of the Pakistani army, on 11 March 2003 The Pakistani authorities handed him over to the United States His interrogation appears to have provided valuable details about the planning and execution of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, on the working of al Qaeda high command, and about some of the operations al Qaeda had in the planning stage That notwithstanding, the interrogation techniques used to obtain information from KSM and other senior al Qaeda operators became the subject of controversy in the United States when it was asserted in various investigative reports in the American press that the Central Intelligence Agency had kept some of these prisoners in secret prisons in various parts of the world, including eastern Europe, and had used interrogation methods that could be considered torture under various international conventions

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