By Gareth Porter
WASHINGTON - New evidence from former United States officials reveals that Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders were able to skip Afghanistan for Pakistan unimpeded in the first weeks after September 11, 2001, as the George W Bush administration failed to plan to block their retreat.
Top administration officials instead gave priority to planning for war with Iraq, leaving the United States with not nearly enough troops or strategic airlift capacity to close the large number of possible exit routes through the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area where Bin Laden escaped in late 2001.
More at Asia Times Online
The buried lead
"Rumsfeld and deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz resisted such planning for Afghanistan because they were hoping that the White House would move quickly on military intervention in Iraq. According to the 9-11 Commission, at four deputies' meetings on Iraq between May 31 and July 26, 2001, Wolfowitz pushed his idea to have US troops seize all the oil fields in southern Iraq.
Even after September 11, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Vice President Dick Cheney continued to resist any military engagement in Afghanistan, because they were hoping for war against Iraq instead."