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PREVIEW: Bin Laden - The Road To 9/11, Channel 4

From a quiet and introspective son of a billionaire to global terrorist mastermind, Bin Laden: The Road to 9/11 charts the story of Osama Bin Laden's transformation, narrated by those who witnessed every step of the journey he made.

Featuring the testimony and accounts of those who knew Bin Laden as a child, a student, a fundraiser-turned-fighter in Afghanistan, the leader of Al Qaeda, and the driving force behind 9/11 - the three-part series views his life through an alternative lens as the films combine to create a never-seen-before story of what led to one man's determination to wage war on America and change the world as we knew it.

The first episode follows Bin Laden as a schoolboy in Saudi Arabia. Raised in a rich family, he watches westerns, enjoys football and avoids playground fights. His childhood friend Khaled Batarfi says 'He was good, I don't know what happened to him'. In 1980, after the invasion of Afghanistan, Bin Laden joins many other Arab men who want to free the country from the Soviets.

Setting up the 'Service Bureau' in Peshawar in Pakistan, he uses his connections to become a major fundraiser in the war effort before crossing into Afghanistan to join the fight. He enters the camp of a Mujahadeen commander, Sayed Wahidyar, who recounts how Bin Laden was initially a liability in the battlefield, with no idea how to fight. But his inherited wealth and family background in construction prove useful as he starts to build roads, camps and clinics.

At the Battle of Jaji the Soviet forces are repelled and finally began their withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1988. The mythology begins, in part fuelled by Bin Laden, of a perceived military success. Buoyed by his new military status, Bin Laden founds Al Qaeda.

Bin Laden: The Road To 9/11 begins Monday 6th September at 9pm on Channel 4.


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