The Rise Of an Evil Protégé

An inside look at how al-Zarqawi wrested control from his ex-boss and became al-Qaeda's most lethal terrorist

At the time, the meeting hardly seemed notable--let alone the start of the world's deadliest partnership. It was late in 1999, and Osama bin Laden was sheltering in Afghanistan, already deep into his plot to attack the World Trade Center. His visitor was a burly young Jordanian, bruised and furious after spending six years inside his country's worst prisons. Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi had traveled to Afghanistan with a proposal for the al-Qaeda chief: he wanted to rally Islam's "true believers" to rise up against corrupt regimes in the Middle East. Bin Laden was skeptical. While al-Zarqawi advocated a war on all fronts,...

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