Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Asia & Pacific

Reporter's Notebook: My Coverage of Usama bin Laden Comes Full Circle

palkot tora bora.jpg

Fox correspondent Greg Palkot on his Tora Bora assignment in December 2001. (FNC)

There is a strange symmetry to our job. On Sept. 12, 2001, Fox News cameraman Mal James and I were on planes heading to Pakistan after the 9/11 attacks left nearly 3,000 dead and put all the attention on Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden

Ten years later, Mal and I are getting on another plane to Pakistan, this time to cover the killing of bin Laden. 

As we rushed around to get visas and get to the airport, there was little time to reflect on what happened. Just like ten years ago, there was little time to think about the horror and death and destruction of the event. 

Still, bits and pieces of this period that changed the lives of many -- including my life -- worked their way into my consciousness. 

I remember climbing up the craggy ravines of Tora Bora in December 2001 looking to see if there was any chance bin Laden was still there, and in the spring of 2004 trudging through village after village in Afghanistan's Khost province as soldiers asked perplexed folks if they had seen a tall man hanging around. 

Then there was the bitter cold of March 2006 when we climbed mountains in the Kunar valley in Northeastern Pakistan, made famous in the recent "Restrepo" documentary,  that was certain to be UBL's real hideout. And there were also countless times in Quetta and especially Peshawar in Pakistan hoping to get some inkling of where this mass terror killer really was. 

But nothing came of these trips. 

Countless discussions with Special Force operatives, friends of Al Qaeda, experts, were all full of plans and speculation. And then to wake up Monday morning in London and find this thing we had tracked and reported on and guessed about had happened. 

Usama bin Laden was found and killed, leading a lot of us to say, 'Ha, we knew all along....' where he was. 

Instead of being hunkered down in a cave, he was hiding in plain sight. But still an hour away from where we'd usually stay in Islamabad? Not far from Pakistan's West Point

I, like many others, have also covered all the other wars and offensive action spawned by bin Laden and 9/11, especially Iraq. And of course I recalled the day I dropped into the Saddam Hussein "spider hole" in December 2003 to see how another monster ended his life of freedom. 

That's why it will be interesting to get at least a little closer to the end of this chapter. 

I hear in Pakistan they're already not believing that bin Laden was dead, just like ten years ago when conspiracy-minded Pakistani's thought 9/11 was a set-up job. 

But that was the horrible real thing, and a lot of people affected by the terror the West has been drenched with in the last ten years will be content to know that what happened in Pakistan Sunday was the real thing, too.

Greg Palkot currently serves as a London-based senior foreign affairs correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 1998 as a correspondent.