few hours after the first American air strikes against Afghanistan, on October 7, a pre-recorded videotape was broadcast around the world. A tall, skinny man with a scraggly beard, wearing a camouflage fatigue jacket and the headdress of a desert tribesman, an AK-47 assault rifle at his side, stood placidly before a rocky backdrop. In measured language Osama bin Laden again declared war on the United States.

Thursday, Nov 01, 2001 Booklist review

From Booklist Books rushed out in the wake of historical calamities tend to be a patchwork of sloppy research and poor writing. But Bergen, who spent 10 years reporting on the Islamic world as a producer for CNN, has written a penetrating examination of al-Qaeda, which he compares to a multinational corporation with Osama bin […]

Thursday, Nov 01, 2001 GUERRA SANTA S.A.

Una lectura esencial para cualquiera que pretenda comprender las amenazas terroristas del futuro y los movimientos islamistas radicales que podrian determinar el destino de gobiernos –y de vidas humanas- en todo el mundo.”

With the 24-hour news cycle providing a messy first draft of history, context has become a scarce commodity, especially when it comes to a figure as frightening and unknowable as Osama bin Laden. Will he be remembered down the line as an evil tactician who touched off a tectonic clash of civilizations? Or will his ideas end up, as President Bush memorably put it, “in history’s unmarked grave of discarded lies”? <em>Holy War, Inc.</em> doesn’t address such questions directly, but it does offer a comprehensive and well-balanced look into the militant world that gave rise to bin Laden and his army of believers.

CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen has been studying Osama bin Laden and his operations for several years and is the author of an upcoming book on the man the United States suspects in the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. Saturday, he discussed the geography of Afghanistan and bin Laden’s links to the country with CNN anchor Kyra Phillips.

Thursday, Sep 13, 2001 BIN LADEN’S WARNING. Smoke Signals

Hiding out somewhere in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden must be a happy man. U.S. officials have identified him as the principal suspect in the disasters visited upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. And there are several reasons why. First, the operation required recruits sufficiently well-motivated that they were prepared to commit suicide. Bin Laden’s group, Al Qaeda (“the base”), employed suicide bombers in the 1998 attacks against two U.S. embassies in Africa and in the bombing of the USS <em>Cole</em> in Yemen eleven months ago. Tuesday’s attacks also required pilots capable of flying jets into their targets. And Al Qaeda has actively recruited pilots capable of flying such planes; in 1993 the group even purchased a jet in Arizona, which was flown to bin Laden’s base, then located in Sudan by a pilot the group had hired. Al Qaeda also has a long history of attacking U.S. government buildings and military targets. And bin Laden himself recently indicated that he was planning to attack more Americantargets.

Tuesday, May 29, 2001 Bombing Verdict

JIM LEHRER: Three perspectives now. Peter Bergen is a journalist who interviewed bin Laden in 1997, he is now writing a book about him and Islamic militant groups; Bruce Hoffman is vice president at Rand, a research organization, and editor-in- chief of the journal “Studies in Conflict and Terrorism;” and Juliette Kayyem runs Harvard University’s Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness, and she was a commissioner on the National Commission on Terrorism.

Tuesday, Mar 27, 2001 Going Soft. KABUL DIARIST

It was Ramadan in Afghanistan. By comparison, Savonarola’s Florence during Lent must have felt like party central. In a country where millions are cold and hungry throughout the winter, the faithful were observing one of the five pillars of Islam: abstaining from food and drink from dawn to dusk during the holy month. No wonder I was the only guest in Kabul’s grim, cavernous, and incongruously named Intercontinental Hotel.

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2001 A dying nation

This time the Taliban has gone too far. The movement of religious students turned-warriors that controls most of Afghanistan is systematically destroying the cultural patrimony of their country. And there is, unfortunately, little the rest of the world can do but watch in horror.

Even the most attentive of post-Sept. 11 media junkies will learn something new from reading journalist Peter L. Bergen’s just-published biography of Osama bin Laden.

Published in October, the biography was not a quickie book. Bergen started reporting about Afghanistan in 1983, producing a documentary about the millions of refugees fleeing to Pakistan after the Soviet military invaded. He traveled to Afghanistan for CNN in 1993 after the bombing of the World Trade Center; based on what Bergen learned about the masterminds behind that terrorist attack, he decided to write a biography of Osama bin Laden.