Documents seized by US Navy Seals during the deadly raid to kill arch-terrorist Osama Bin Laden last May revealed a close working relationship between Al-Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, and other terrorist groups.
Sources in Washington say that a three-way conversation between Bin Laden, his then deputy Ayman Zawahiri and Mullah Omar, the overall commander of the Taliban, indicated a “very considerable degree of ideological convergence.”
The cache of documents includes memos apparently dictated by Bin Laden urging followers to avoid indiscriminate attacks which kill Muslims.
However, despite US and Afghan hopes that the Taliban could be persuaded to renounce terrorism and come to a negotiated peace agreement, the documents indicate the group may be inclined to grant safe-haven to Al-Qaeda and its terror confederates.
A close alliance or cooperation between senior Taliban and al-Qaeda members is considered deeply problematic for the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014.
American officials sought last year to make a distinction between al-Qaeda fighters, whom they claim number "less than 100" in Afghanistan, and the Taliban who are fighting NATO troops.
NATO had originally invaded Taliban-controlled Afghanistan because officials there allowed al-Qaeda to operate within the country and plan the September 11 terrorist attacks.
But the documents show direct communications between the al-Qaeda chief and his deputy, Ayman Zawahiri, just weeks before the raid in which he was discovered.
The documents include memos stating broad strategic aims but little “hands-on” planning, according to the newspaper’s sources.
“His communications were written on a computer in the compound in Abbottabad where he lived, loaded on to memory sticks and then sent from distant internet cafes by a courier. It was this courier who eventually led the CIA to the al-Qaeda chief,” sources in Washington told reporters.
Bin Laden was killed after being tracked down by US special forces to a safe house in the north-west Pakistani city of Abbottabad in May last year.
The documents, whose dates range from several years to as recent as only weeks before the May 2 raid, also show that Bin Laden was in indirect communication with Nigerian-based militant group Boko Haram, and other terror groups.
Republican officials have charged the Obama administration is cynically trumpeting the President's role in Osama Bin Laden's final demise at the hands of US commandos as an election ploy.
Senior GOP leaders note the timing of the release of the documents - which have been in US hands for almost a year - comes as Obama squares off with GOP front-runner Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election race.
Republicans have made gains attacking Obama's foreign policy record in recent weeks forcing the US president fighting to alter perceptions.
In an uncharacteristic move, New York Times reporters Peter Baker and Michael Shear on Friday, seemed to embrace Republican allegations, writing “few presidents have talked about the killing of an individual enemy in such an expansive way."
Baker and Shear added that, Obama has taken the "unusual route of bragging about how he killed a man."
However, it was also revealed last week that Obama himself played only a nominal role in the covert operation that killed the United States' most wanted terrorist. The hunt for - and operation to kill - Osama Bin Laden was planned, overseen, and commanded by US Navy Admiral Wm. McRaven.