Washington: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States drew a plan to kill Osama bin Laden in 2007 in Afghanistan’s Tora Bora region.

The administration of George W Bush considered bombing a meeting of al-Qaeda leaders during the summer of 2007, in what would be the last chance to kill bin Laden before the 2008 presidential election, the New York Times(NYT) reported.

Rice, in an interview with a news channel confirmed the information.

"There was supposedly this meeting that would take place, perhaps higher level enough for him to come, but in the end it didn't materialize," Rice told the channel.

Washington thought the al-Qaeda chief would leave his hideout from somewhere in Pakistan to attend the meeting, reported the NYT, citing military officers and former government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The meeting was to be held in Tora Bora, along the Pakistani border, which was bombed in late 2001 by the United States. Laden was believed to be hiding in a network of caves in the region after the September 11 attacks on the United States.

"It was the best intelligence we'd had on him in a long time," a senior military officer told the newspaper.

The US military prepared a massive bombing operation, and set the plan in motion. Bombers were half-way to their target when commanders called them back because of doubts of bin Laden's presence and the risk of civilian casualties.

(Agencies)