UPSC Exam Preparation: This Day in History – May 02

02 May 2011

Osama Bin Laden killed

What happened?

International terrorist Osama Bin Laden was killed by American security forces on May 2, 2011 in US military’s Operation Neptune Spear. Bin Laden had been hiding in Abbottabad, Pakistan when he was killed.


  • Osama Bin Laden was born a Saudi Arabian national into a wealthy business family.
  • In 1979, he joined the Mujahideen in Pakistan who were fighting the Soviet Union in the war in Afghanistan.
  • He helped to bring many Arabs into Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. He also provided the finances for arms and operations.
  • Saudi Arabia banished him from the country in 1992 and he left for Sudan. He had to flee Sudan as well and finally established a base in Afghanistan in 1996.
  • He organized terrorist activities like bombings and other attacks. He had declared a war against the USA.
  • Bin Laden founded the terrorist organization, Al-Qaeda in 1988 along with others chiefly for fighting against the Russians in the Afghanistan war.
  • He is alleged to be behind the 1988 Gilgit massacre of Shias in Pakistan.
  • He also had India as a target since India, he believed was part of the “Crusader-Zionist-Hindu” conspiracy.
  • Bin Laden also believed that Sharia Law was needed in the entire Islamic world. He was also against democracy, socialism, communism and pan-Arabism. He believed in violent Jihad as a legitimate means to achieve his purpose.
  • He was also behind the notorious September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York that killed about 3000 people. Even before this incident, Bin Laden was on USA’s ‘Most Wanted List’.
  • US president Barack Obama had ordered Operation Neptune Spear to hunt and kill Osama Bin Laden.
  • The CIA of the USA carried out the hunt and established Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad in Pakistan.
  • A team of US Navy Seals carried out the operation and killed the terrorist on 2 May 2011.
  • The mansion from where Bin Laden was killed was under mile from Pakistan Military Academy.  There were allegations that the Pakistani government was aware of, and probably protected Bin Laden at Abbottabad. It was also alleged that USA paid money to a Pakistani intelligence officer for the information. All these charges were denied by both Pakistan and the USA.
  • In India, the government and the public welcomed the news of Bin Laden’s death. The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had remarked, ‘I welcome it as a significant step forward and hope that it will deal a decisive blow to Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.’
  • The government also stated that the capture of Bin Laden from Pakistan could be proof of that country being a ‘safe haven’ for terrorists and that this matter was a grave concern to India.
Also on this day

1921: Birth of Satyajit Ray, celebrated film maker.


See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.