WASHINGTON: Osman bin Laden, the Saudi millionaire-turned-renegade charged with international terrorism, bears a striking similarity to the late Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. The resemblance is more than just facial. Like Bhindranwale, bin Laden (aka agent Tim Osman)was created by the very forces which are now seeking to destroy him.

Experts are almost unanimous in saying that bin Laden is a creature of a US foreign policy which recklessly fed and nurtured him and his Islamic warriors with million of dollars worth of money and arms to fight the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan.

The money was funnelled largely through PAKISTAN's maverick Inter-Services Intelligence. Even at that time, bin Laden and his holy warriors had made it clear that the US was as much anathema to them as the communists. The Agency is now trying to destroy the same camps it helped set up, said a British writer who covered the region and who met bin Laden at his camp in an interview on an National Public Radio programme. He said bin Laden did not appear to be such a fearsome international terrorist that the US was colouring him out to be.

On the contrary, he was isolated, lonely, virtually unlistened to, and was constantly trying to know what was happening in other parts of the world. US officials have made bin Laden out to be a terrorist mastermind operating out of a high-tech cave filled with satellite phones and other gizmos overseeing a worldwide network of extremist organisations. The operation was a complete disaster.