Profile of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
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Top al-Qaeda operative who planned the 9/11 attacks on NYC
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (also Muhammad or Mohammad) is known as the member of the al-Qaeda Council who plotted the attacks of 11 September 2001 on the United States. His personal background is murky, but it is generally agreed he was born in 1964 or 1965, in the Baluchistan region of Pakistan, and that he grew up in Kuwait. He studied in the United States, briefly at Chowan College in North Carolina before graduating in 1986 from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a degree in engineering. Within a few short years he was in Pakistan and part of the Afghan mujahideen. In the late '80s he joined Osama Bin Laden, and by the late 1990s he was the al-Qaeda media director under Ayman al-Zawahiri. Mohammed's nephew, Ramzi Yousef, was one of the men behind the 1993 bomb attack on the World Trade Center, and Mohammed was suspected of being connected. Mohammed then became more widely known as the man behind a failed 1995 plot to blow up American airliners (known as Operation Bojinka), as well as a suspect in several other international operations. After the attacks of 9/11, Mohammed was said to have been the man who coordinated the plan. The U.S. declared him as big a target as Bin Laden and offered a reward of up to $25 million for his capture. It was announced in March of 2003 that he had been captured in Pakistan; the news was accompanied by a photo of him in an ill-fitting white tee-shirt, black mustache and bad hair. Reports had Mohammed, sometimes referred to as KSM, held by the U.S. at undisclosed locations until 2006, when it was said he was a detainee at the prisoner facility at Guantanamo Bay. In March of 2007 the U.S. released a transcript from a military tribunal in which Mohammed, while denying that he ever said he was al-Qaeda's military commander, takes credit for planning the 9/11 attacks and about thirty other operations, including the 2002 murder of journalist Daniel Pearl and assassination plots against U.S. president Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul II.
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