KBL: Kill Bin Laden probes the hearts and minds of Americas secret warriors, revealing what the job means to them, and the toll it takes. In this riveting novel drawn from actual events and based on real-life heroes, John Weisman brings to life the drama behind the hunt and SEAL Team 6s breathtaking raid in which Bin Ladenthe grail for counterterrorists for more than a decademet his fate.
Filled with pulse-pounding excitement and the tactics, intelligence tradecraft, and operational sources and methods used in real-world CIA and special operation missions, KBL: Kill Bin Laden is a thrill-a-minute dramatization that sets the standard for adventure novels as it brilliantly imagines the action, intrigue, and suspense of this real-life event, and offers a glimpse of the new face of warfare.
|Product dimensions:||6.46(w) x 9.08(h) x 1.06(d)|
About the Author
John Weisman is a bestselling author and former journalist. His CIA stories have been selected twice for Best American Mystery Stories. Weisman's Black Ops column appears in Military.com. He lives with his wife and their dogs in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Read an Excerpt
By John Weisman
William MorrowCopyright © 2011 John Weisman
All right reserved.
Chapter OneAbbottabad, Pakistan
December 5, 2010, 0821 Hours Local Time
The beggar was nervous. You couldn't tell by looking, but he was. Still,
he maintained his rounds. He wheeled himself onto the short street just
off Narian Link Road right after morning prayers at the Sakoon Mosque.
The shops were opening. He made his way up to the sidewalk tables in
front of the tearoom, just the way he always did.
He smiled "Good morning, brother" through broken, stained teeth
at Waseem, the tearoom proprietor, and accepted gratefully the tiny cup
of sweet, dark, steaming brew that Waseem offered him whenever he
showed up, sometimes in the morning, sometimes later.
Waseem rubbed his balding head. He admired the beggar. After all,
the beggar was mujahidinhe was even aptly named Shahida fighter
who had lost both his legs and most of four of his fingers when the
detested Americans had hit his Waziristan compound with a missile from
one of their armed Predator unmanned aerial vehicles that killed Muslims
without regard to their guilt or innocence.
Shahid had come to Abbottabad a little over a month ago. From
Peshawar, he'd said, and before that Waziristan. On his way to Islamabad.
It wasn't far. Maybe he'd get there someday, God willing, to collect the
money he was owed by the government, those Westernized thieves.
Judging from the rough Urdu-tinged accent, Waseem figured the beggar
gar was originally from up north, the rugged, harsh mountains close
to the Afghan border. Someplace like Drosh or Chitral. Places the
governmentWaseem considered the president and most of the government
bureaucrats in Islamabad to be puppets of the detested Americans
was afraid to go.
They grew them tough up there in the northwest. Thin-air Jihadis who
could carry sixty, seventy kilos on their backs all day, humping up and
down the passes like mountain sheep. God's warriors, who extracted a
good price from the Infidels. And sometimes paid one, too.
"A sweet, Brother Shahid?" Waseem always asked. You didn't want
to offend someone who'd put his life on the line defending Islam against
The beggar set down the two lengths of wood he used to push the
padded furniture dolly on which he traveled. "God bless you, Brother
"And you, Brother Shahid." Waseem excused himself and returned
almost immediately with a pastry dripping honey sitting on a small
rectangle of thin waxed tissue. He stood there in his shirtsleeves, pulled a
well-used handkerchief out of his rear pocket, and wiped his forehead as
if it were summer as he watched the beggar stuff the treat into his mouth
with ruined finger stubs, then wipe his lips with a ragged tunic sleeve.
"Are you well?"
The beggar shrugged and sipped tea. "As well I can be, thanks to God."
He emptied the cup and, using both hands, offered it back to Waseem.
The beggar looked around conspiratorially. "There were strangers here
yesterday. I saw them by the Bibi Amna Mosque."
"Yes," Waseem nodded. "Four of them in Army uniforms. Captains.
From Islamabad, I think." He paused. "Visiting the Military Academy,
from the look of them."
"God be praised." The beggar picked up his sticks. "I always wanted
to go to military school." He tapped his rag wrapped stumps with one of
them. "But God had other uses for me."
"God be praised."
The beggar sighed. "God be praised." And then he swiveled, pushed
off, and foot by foot wheeled himself down the street to the corner by
the Iqbal Market, where he sat for an hour, sometimes more, his back up
against the wall, his wooden bowl in front of him, collecting almsand
It was the strangers who'd snagged the beggar's tripwire. Made him more
than slightly nervous.
They were Pashto-speakers. Accents? Islamabad, the beggar thought.
Maybe. Nahbetter than maybe. But officers visiting the Pakistan Military
Academy? No fricking way. These guys didn't walk or talk like
soldiers. They were Intel professionals. They reeked ISI, Pakistan's
Inter-Services Intelligence. And it was well known to the beggar that significant
elements of ISI were sympathetic to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
Moreover, operating under military cover was a common ISI tactic.
In 2008 and 2009, some of the top-tier International Security Assistance
Force (ISAF) units in Afghanistan, units that hunted for HVTs
high value targets, in military speakoperated with Pakistani "military
Except the embeds hadn't been military. They'd been ISI officers in
uniform, and they reported back to Islamabad on the HVT hunters'
sources, methods, and tactics.
And guess what? Shortly thereafter, HVTs in Afghanistan began to
change their tactics and methods. And shortly after that, not a few of
the sources who had led American forces to those HVTs were abducted,
tortured, and murdered.
More to the point, the beggar had eyeballed these guys, and they'd
been looking. Surveiling. Eliciting. Searching for an anomaly in this
garrison city of thirty-five thousand souls.
Hunting for something specific.
And the beggar, whose Infidel name was Charlie Becker and whose legs
and fingers had been blown off on Father's Day 2004 by an Al-Qaeda in an
Iraq suicide bomber just outside the city of Mahmudiya,
and who currently occupied a GS-15, Step 10, slot at SAD,
the Special Activities Division of the Central Intelligence Agency,
knew exactly what anomaly yesterday's strangers had been seeking.
They were looking for a CIA safe house. A safe house that had been
set up just about two months ago. A safe house that had been rented from
an unsuspecting owner by false-flag recruited, anti-American Pakistanis
who thought they were working for the Haqqani Network, a violent
Afghani militia based in Pakistan's North Waziristan, where they ran training
camps for foreign terrorists.
In point of fact, however, the hoodwinked Paks had rented the property
on behalf of theirand the Haqqanis'sworn enemy: America's
Central Intelligence Agency.
Which then filled it with several million dollars' worth of high tech
eavesdropping and communications equipment, which was covertly,
painstakingly, meticulously shipped in and set up, piece by piece by piece.
This was Valhalla Base, the safe house for which it was Charlie's job
to provide counter surveillance and thus protection.
Charlie Becker, a retired U.S. Army Airborne Ranger master sergeant,
had spent just over five and a half years in rehab after what he called "the
nasty Iraqi incident." And since he had an innate talent for language, and
since he had no intention of not working for a living or writing a tell all
book or getting by on a disability pension, and since he was someone
who believed in the credo "Don't get mad, don't get even: get ahead,"
he'd spent that time prepping his mind as well as his body, learning the
languages his enemies spoke.
Learning to speak them like a native.
He was currently fluent in Urdu and Pashto, and his Arabic wasn't bad
either. Since January 2009 he'd spent most of his time down at Guantánamo
working interrogations. He'd volunteered for Gitmo because it was
the best way, he argued, to get his language skills where he wanted them.
The best way, he harangued, to discuss Quranic law in Pashto and Urdu
and get the damn phrases right. The best way, he knew right down to the
marrow in his bones, to learn how to pass.
Charlie was no fool. He had discovered in Iraq that he could pass for
Egyptian or Syrian. Until, that was, he opened his mouth. But now? Now
he had all the tools.
And when he learned that CIA had got this . . . thing going in Abbottabad,
he'd volunteered to play lonesome end and watch his comrades'
So he'd left his prostheses in his Special Activities Division locker,
set up in Camp Alpha, the secure compound in a far corner of Bagram
Air Base in Afghanistan. The selfsame Camp Alpha compound that sat
safely behind four layers of three-meter fence topped by concertina wire,
patrolled by K-9 security teams, and backstopped with a sensor system
that cost more than Bill Gates and Warren Buffett made in a year, plus
It was the compound where, inside a hangar with a shielded roof that
couldn't be seen by any loitering ISAF unmanned aerial vehicle or
penetrated by Russkie or Chinese infrared or thermal-capable satellites, a
hangar large enough to store three C-17 Globemaster-IIIs, the CIA was
keeping some nasty little surprises for its most bodaciously, successfully
Knowing what was going on inside that hangar and getting a peek at
the items therein had been hugely motivational for Charlie Becker.
Which was why for six weeks he lived outside the hangar in the same
clothes he was wearing now, with nothing but the cardboard shelter he'd
constructed himself to shield him from the elements, and consuming the
same seasoned lentil stew, roti flat bread, and sweet tea diet consumed by
most poor Pakistanis. He bathed only occasionally, except for his stumps
and hands, which he washed religiously before dawn, morning, noon,
afternoon, and evening prayers, prayers he recited with the passion of the
Salafist Jihadi into which he was metamorphosing.
He drank tepid Pak tap water and zam-zam fruit milkshakes brought
in from Abbottabad until his gut got used to them, which meant he
wasn't shitting twelve times in one day or one time in twelve.
He practiced getting around on the padded furniture dollybuilt
from materials scrounged entirely in Pakistanuntil it was second
nature, worked on his Pashto until he was dreaming in the language, and
radiated Pashtunwali from every pore. Then he ran himself through four
weeks of painful, intense preparation until he knew his legend was firm,
his cover secure, and his body ready for Show Time.
Excerpted from KBL by John Weisman Copyright © 2011 by John Weisman. Excerpted by permission of William Morrow. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
“There are only a few authors who are able to climb inside the culture, mindset, and passions of the people who conduct covert and special operations. SOAR reveals why John Weisman is the best in the business in writing about it.”
“A stunner and a riveting read. KBL is rife with realism and a true-to-life portrayal of hard-core warriors, their ethos and their world.”
“John Weisman has done it again! KBL is the latest of his books that probe beneath the facts of world-changing events to expose the deeper meanings and truths and lay bare the raw passions of people who throw themselves into such situations.”
“Absolutely gripping. KBL: Kill Bin Laden describes a true story that can only be told in fiction. It also enthrallingly shows how SEALs are the future of warfare in the 21st century.”
“KBL is an amazing tour de force. This is as close as you will get to the pulse-pounding, incredibly daring mission to find and Kill Bin Laden.”
“John Weisman has written an intriguing tale. Try guessing where fiction ends in KBL and fact takes over.”
“This is a must-read book for anyone who wants to understand the meticulous planning and preparation that must go into carrying out a raid to kill the most wanted terrorist in the world, Usama Bin Laden, and the unselfish dedication that drives our ‘special warriors.’”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A must read, for anyone who was interested on how the work up arrived at the conclusion that UBL was in his villa, and how our allies the Pakastanis denied knowing anything about the whereabouts of this notorious, misguided Saudi who should have received a ten cent bullet before 9/11.
MY THOUGHTSREALLY LIKED ITThe story recreates what happened when SEAL Team Six that night of the Bin Laden raid with fictionalized members and recounts what we know about the events filled in with a bit of speculation. Reading recent news reports about that night when Obama made the fateful decision goes somewhat against what is written in the book and I am sure that more details will be released in the upcoming months. I really have to say whether the story told here is true or not, this is one fast ride! The characters are well defined and interesting making you care about them as individuals and not some crazy guys bent on murder and revenge. They training and their resources is just amazing to read about. The back story in how they figured out where Bin Laden was is probably the most fascinating thing in the story. This really had a Mission Impossible theme going on since what the SEALS accomplished. Don't try and read this one before going to sleep sleep since it might keep you up wondering what happens next.
Right off the first page this book grabs your attention. A beggar in Pakistan, no legs, true to Allah, going through his day as usual. However for Shahid the usual wasn¿t usual at all because Shahid was Charlie Becker, Army Ranger; VOLUNTEERING his time to help catch the ultimate bad guy in Osama Bin Laden.KBL is the story of the months leading up to the capture/kill of Bin Laden by telling us stories of all involved. Backgrounds, names changed but a straight from the scene tale. You can easily figure out the ¿who¿s who¿ in this novel and Weisman certainly get his revenge on some pretty high profile people.Plans shot down, reconstructed and shot down again. People seeking reparation in the form of capture. People trying to dissuade the President of the United States from the decision he ultimately made (and good for him!). This book has everything that makes John Weisman an author4 to be read each time a new story/article comes out.A++++++ here and if you are old enough to remember 9/11 you must read this one!
Reviewed by Alice D. for Readers Favorite Author John Weisman has taken the events behind the May 2, 2011, assassination of Osama Bin Laden by United States Navy Seal Team 6 and has created a rivetting story of the months and weeks before Bin Laden was killed. In Abbottabad, Pakistan, where the world now knows that Osama Bin Laden was living, Charlie Becker, a retired United States Airborne Range whose fingers and legs were blown off in Iraq by an al-Qaeda suicide bomber, is posing as a legless street beggar named Shahid. Fluent in Arabic, Urdu, and Pashto, Charlie is able to get along with the locals and pass vital information onto Langley and the CIA and its director, Vince Mercaldi, political appointee whose competence has surprised everyone. The men of Seal Team 6, DEVGRU, Troy Roberts, Padre, Jacko, Cajun, Heron and Rangemaster train and train, but what they are about to do is just another night's work. They get "jocked up" in lightweight body armor, Gen-III helmets with NOD, their 416 magazines loaded with rounds, their Sig-Sauers ready to go, and they are off! "KBL: Kill Bin Laden: A Novel Based on True Events" is brilliantly written and will hold the reader's attention to the story's last page. "KBL" is a cliff-hanger even though the reader knows the outcome. Charlie Becker's and Ty Becker's survival are both well-developed themes within the "hold your breath" plot. Author John Weisman takes the reader through week by week before the actual killing of Bin Laden takes place and has done his research on all matters military quite thoroughly. And Weisman's characters are strong and believable which makes "KBL" a great book for thriller fans everywhere.
Good fictional account on events that really happened concerning the end of the biggest manhunt for the worst criminal to ever walk the earth. Since this is fictional but based on true events you have to wonder which is fact and which is fiction. An awesome read.
Very well written, spot on! You won't be let down.
Right off the first page this book grabs your attention. A beggar in Pakistan, no legs, true to Allah, going through his day as usual. However for Shahid the usual wasn¿t usual at all because Shahid was Charlie Becker, Army Ranger; VOLUNTEERING his time to help catch the ultimate bad guy in Osama Bin Laden. KBL is the story of the months leading up to the capture/kill of Bin Laden by telling us stories of all involved. Backgrounds, names changed but a straight from the scene tale. You can easily figure out the ¿who¿s who¿ in this novel and Weisman certainly get his revenge on some pretty high profile people. Plans shot down, reconstructed and shot down again. People seeking reparation in the form of capture. People trying to dissuade the President of the United States from the decision he ultimately made (and good for him!). This book has everything that makes John Weisman an author4 to be read each time a new story/article comes out. A++++++ here and if you are old enough to remember 9/11 you must read this one!
This is a great book, albeit fiction, about the raid in May 2011 that killed Bin Laden. It is based on facts and that comes out in the book. John Weisman is a great writer and extremely knowledgeable about SEALS and Special Ops. Highly Recommend this book!
I believe to the average reader, this book was entirely to technical. Almost the entire book, up until the end, was giving details that most people cannot understand. I understand that a background is necessary to the entire scenario, but to put in all the lettered abbreviations like CCPTL or ANST or whatever, totally took away from the context of the story. Just give us the background, a few names of important people who played a role in this. Didn't need an entire background of each person. I stuck with the book til the end because I was interested in how it all went down. The it ended. Really really disappointed in this book. I bought this for my 14 year old grandson for Christmas as he is really interested in this type of material, and he gave up trying to read it. I was generous giving it two stars. Thought it was such a huge bunch of jibberish throughout.