CNN doc traces the footsteps of Osama bin Laden

MUMBAI: News broadcaster CNN will air a documentary In The Footsteps Of bin Laden on 23 August at 5:30 pm. The two-hour investigation paints a portrait of bin Laden and his transformation from child to man using first-hand accounts of the people who have known him throughout his life.

From his peaceful teenage years to orchestrating the events on 9/11, viewers are taken on a global journey, tracing the path of bin Laden’s life from his childhood home and school in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to his residence in Peshawar, Pakistan, where al-Qaeda was born, and to the mountains of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border where he is being hunted today.

Using never-before-seen photographs, video and even the minutes of the meeting in which al-Qaeda was created, the special weaves a story of the world’s most notorious terrorist.

CNN International senior VP Rena Golden says, "In The Footsteps Of bin Laden is a unique insight into the world of a man who is both feared and revered in equal measure around the world. For the first time his life, for so long cloaked in myth and mystery, has been documented by Christiane Amanpour for CNN’s international audience.”

Filmed in 10 countries on four continents, the documentary features 21 first-person accounts of bin Laden from his relatives, childhood friends, former schoolteacher, co-jihadists, bodyguard and even the wife of an al-Qaeda suicide bomber -- many of them breaking their silence for the first time on camera.

The documentary ties the evolution of bin Laden’s philosophy to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism from the late 1970s through the unique personal perspective of Amanpour.

“The story of militant Islamic fundamentalism did not begin with September 11,” said Amanpour. “The Islamic Revolution that swept Iran in 1979 and forced the pro-American Shah from power was the first sign that Fundamentalist Islam had awoken as a movement in the Middle East and the entire world continues feeling its shockwaves today.”

The special is based on the book The Osama bin Laden I Know by CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen. His book offers numerous new details about bin Laden’s transformation from a quiet, well-bred boy to the Western world’s most wanted terrorist. Bergen, an author and a Fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C., was a CNN producer at the time of the interview with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in March 1997. Bergen, along with others, is featured in the CNN documentary and is credited as a co-producer.

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