The Bin Laden Papers How the Abbottabad Raid revealed the Truth about al-Qaeda, its Leader and his Family Nelly Lahoud

Publication date:
12 Apr 2022
Yale University Press
384 pages: 235 x 156mm
2 b-w illus. + 2 maps
Sales territories:

Buy this eBook

You can purchase this title from a number of online retailers:

An inside look at al-Qaeda from 9/11 to the death of its founder—told through the words of Bin Laden and his closest circle

Usama Bin Laden’s greatest fear was not capture or death, but the exposure of al-Qaeda’s secrets. At great risk to themselves and the entire mission, the U.S. Special Operations Forces, who carried out the Abbottabad raid that killed Bin Laden, took an additional eighteen minutes to collect Bin Laden’s hard drives and thereby expose al-Qaeda’s secrets.
In this ground-breaking book, Nelly Lahoud dives into Bin Laden’s files and meticulously distills the nearly 6,000 pages of Arabic private communications. For the first time, al-Qaeda’s closely guarded secrets are laid bare, shattering misconceptions and revealing how and what Bin Laden communicated with his associates, his plans for future attacks, and al-Qaeda’s hostility toward countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Pakistan. Lahoud presents firsthand accounts of al-Qaeda from 9/11 until the elimination of Bin Laden, as told through his own words and those of his family and closest associates.

Nelly Lahoud is a senior fellow in New America’s International Security program and is the author of three books, including The Jihadis' Path to Self-Destruction.

The Bin Laden Papers is a work of immense, exciting scholarship, and it sparkles with new insights about bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network. Crisply written by Nelly Lahoud, it is one of the most important histories of the war on terror.”—Peter Bergen, author of The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden

“A masterful analysis and riveting story. As though finally cleaning a window obscured by years of grime, Nelly Lahoud’s The Bin Laden Papers clarifies a man and his movement that confused and confounded much of the world for decades.”—General (ret.) Stanley McChrystal, former Commander of United States Forces Afghanistan

“Terrorist expert Nelly Lahoud reveals the hidden history of Al Qaeda in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The Bin Laden Papers paints a portrait of an ambitious and dedicated terrorist leader who is often out of touch with reality and unable to control the movement he helped spawn.”—Daniel Byman, author of Road Warriors: Foreign Fighters in the Armies of Jihad

“Nelly Lahoud’s consummate analysis of 6,000 al-Qaeda documents is a prodigious and indispensable achievement. Deploying clinical understanding of political, religious, and family contexts, she provides a riveting inside account, the fullest likely ever to emerge, of the thoughts and motivations of a man and movement that have so malignly impacted our era.”—James Piscatori, co-author of Islam Beyond Borders: The Umma in World Politics

 “A singular achievement that stands as the definitive and original account of the trajectory of al-Qaeda from 2001 to the death of Bin Laden.  This clearly presented analysis draws on the author’s unique expertise to correct the record of Bin Laden and international terrorism post 9/11.”—Martha Crenshaw, author of Countering Terrorism