Bin Laden Thought ISIS Was Too Brutal and Would Alienate Recruits

US Releases Final Batch of Bin Laden Docs

The Obama Administration has released what is being described as the final batch of documents from Osama bin Laden acquired during the 2011 attack on his Abbottabad, Pakistan compound, during which he was assassinated by US forces.

Among the documents were comments from bin Laden about the rise of ISIS as a competitor to al-Qaeda (after years of being al-Qaeda’s Iraq affiliate), saying he believed the group had become too brutal and violent in their attacks, and that he expected ISIS would alienate Muslims to the point it would impact their ability to recruit new fighters.

Other documents include a number of letters to relatives, with bin Laden telling his sons not to come Abbottabad because it was too dangerous, and admonishing one of his sons to flee Karachi on a “cloudy day,” which officials believe meant he feared he would be hit with a drone strike.

Bin Laden’s letters also showed he retained at least some contact with the leadership of al-Qaeda affiliates around the world, though there remained considerable speculation that his day-to-day position in the leadership of the organization had somewhat waned in his final years, as he remained reclusive, and concerned about his safety.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.