The US accused bin Laden of being the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks on the US  [AFP]

Barack Obama, the US president, announced the death of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011, saying that the al-Qaeda leader had been killed earlier that day in a US operation in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

Bin Laden was one of the world's most wanted fugitives and had been acccused by Washington of being the main architect of the 9/11 attacks on the US.

The US also accused him of masterminding a series of bombings against many of its installations across the world.

After 9/11, the US launched a global hunt for bin Laden, the son of a billionaire Saudi businessman.

The Taliban, who were ousted from power in Afghanistan after the US launched military operations against them in 2001, were believed to be sheltering bin Laden, who went into hiding after the US attacks. 

In 2007, the US Senate doubled the reward for the death or capture of the al-Qaeda chief to $50m.

Afghanistan conflict

Osama’s first foray into the internecine Afghanistan conflict was allegedly via the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA], the US agency, when he was involved in the fight against the then Soviet Union's invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.

Though the Russians were driven out by the Afghan mujahidin, backed by the US and Pakistan, Osama's love affair with the global fight against so-called Western influence further blossomed and culminated in the deadly 9/11 attack.

After the Taliban were overthrown, he joined cause with them in their fight against US-led troops in Afghanistan.

He had also called for the overthrow of many autocratic Arab rulers, who he accused of siding with the US. In fact, he was banished from the Saudi terrritory for going openly against the monarch.

Osama was born in 1957 in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh. He was the 17th of more than 50 children born to his Yemeni father, Muhammad and Syria-born mother Alia Ghanem.

There had been conflicting reports about bin Laden's death in the past, the first time being in 2001 when a section of Pakistan media reported that he had died of lung complications.

The US had alleged that Pakistan knew about his whereabouts, a charge Pakistan always denied.

After becoming president in 2008, Obama intensified the search against bin Laden and launched Predator drone attacks inside Pakistan, a constant point of acrimony between the two countries. 

Source: Al Jazeera