Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies

Osama lived in Haripur before moving to Abbottabad
Posted:May 15, 2011
increase Font size decrease Font size


Peshawar, May 7: Amal, according to officials familiar with the investigations, said that before moving to his sprawling compound in Bilal Town, Abbottabad, towards the end of 2005, Osama bin Laden had lived with his family in Chak Shah Mohammad Khan, a village in the nearby district of Haripur, for nearly two and a half years. - Photo by AP

Investigators engaged in piecing together the life of Osama bin Laden since his dramatic escape from Afghanistan’s Tora Bora mountains have discovered the Al Qaeda chief had been living in Pakistan’s urban centres longer than they had thought.

They have also discovered that contrary to a widely held belief that the 54-year-old Al Qaeda leader required dialysis to treat his chronic kidney ailment, OBL was hale and hearty. The startling claims, according to two officials interviewed for this report, were made by Osama bin Laden’s 29-year-old Yemeni widow, one of the three widows in Pakistani custody.

Amal, according to officials familiar with the investigations, said that before moving to his sprawling compound in Bilal Town, Abbottabad, towards the end of 2005, Osama bin Laden had lived with his family in Chak Shah Mohammad Khan, a village in the nearby district of Haripur, for nearly two and a half years.

Chak Shah Mohammad, situated on the highway to Abbottabad, is two kilometres to the southeast of Haripur town.

In retrospect that meant, one of the officials observed, Osama had left the country’s tribal region sometime in 2003 to live in a settled area.

For years, since Osama’s disappearance in 2001 from Tora Bora to escape a US-led dragnet in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province, both Pakistani and American officials believed that Osama was hiding in the tribal region straddling the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

“Imagine, this guy was living in our midst in Haripur and Abbottabad for seven and a half years and we all, both Pakistanis and
Americans, had been looking for him in the wrong direction,” one official remarked.

It appears now that some of the diehard Al Qaeda elements had chosen to live in the relatively secure environs of Haripur and Abbottabad away from the prying eyes of intelligence agencies.

In May 2009, police had arrested Abdullah al Masri from Malikyar village. Three days later, diehard militants attacked the police on guard at the house occupied by Al Masri’s two wives and killed three policemen. One of the assailants, a Pakistani identified as Ijaz, son of Sadiq of Malikpura, Abbottabad, was also killed in the attack.

Interestingly enough, Umar Patek, an Indonesian involved in the Bali bombing of 2002, was also arrested from Malikpura, Abbottabad. Indonesian authorities are now saying that Patek, arrested by a Pakistani intelligence agency in March, wanted to meet Osama bin Laden not far from where the Al Qaeda leader lived.

Patek was wanted for masterminding the Bali bombing that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

Amal, who according to these officials, spent the last night with her husband and gave an account of what had transpired, told investigators that she had just moved with her husband to their bedroom and switched off the lights when they heard gunshots.

Before Osama could reach out for his Kalashnikov, the Navy SEALS team burst in and shot at her husband, confirming again that he was unarmed.

She too got a bullet in her leg and was wounded while trying to resist the intruding Americans, she added.

She said that Osama bin Laden, along with his children and grandchildren, had moved from Haripur to Abbottabad towards the end of 2005. The land in Bilal Town, said a government official, was bought by Mohammad Arshad on Jan 22, 2004, on the strength of a forged national identity card and wrong address.

Situated in the middle of an agriculture land, the compound where Osama bin Laden lived was built in 2005, soon after the devastating earthquake that hit the country’s northern regions.

Arshad and his brother Tariq, natives of Shangla district adjoining Swat, had been among Osama bin Laden’s trusted lieutenants, lived and accompanied the Al Qaeda leader and fronted for him. They would run errands for him, too, Amal told investigators.

Little is known about the Kuwaiti-born Shangla brothers other than their father, who also lived and worked in Kuwait, had known Bin Laden. Their relationship and trust in each other, an official said, had a history of thirty to forty years.

Incidentally, the official said, OBL’s son, who was also killed in action along with his father, was married to one of the sisters of Shangla brothers. Those children lived alongside the children and grandchildren of Osama bin Laden.

The Shangla brothers, the official added, were the two other men killed in Operation Geronimo.

Amongst those left behind by the evacuating Navy Seals were Osama’s three wives, two of them highly educated Saudis, his elder son and four children of a daughter who was killed in a drone strike in Waziristan, the officials said.

They also included Osama’s Abbottabad-born five-year-old son and 22-year-old daughter, the officials added.

Who helped and facilitated Osama’s movement from the tribal region to the cities of Pakistan is also the subject of investigations, one official said.

But it was a cleric picked up by security forces from one of the tribal regions who had initially pointed the finger towards Abbottabad, thus causing the Pakistani and American intelligence operatives to focus more closely on the garrison city, that houses the prestigious Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul.


Amal, the youngest of Osama’s three wives also told investigators that her husband was hale and hearty and had recovered from his kidney ailment. “He was not on dialysis,” the official said.

Osama’s Yemeni wife told investigators that he had undergone two kidney surgeries in Afghanistan’s south-western Kandahar province during Taliban regime and had recovered thereafter, using homemade medications including water melons.

“He was neither weak nor frail,” one of the officials quoted Amal as saying, debunking widely held belief that Osama used dialysis to treat his kidney ailment. Some reports had gone as far as claiming that Osama had died due to kidney failure. “He believed in his own medication,” his wife told investigators.

A senior security official said that information gleaned from the widow had not been shared with the Americans so far.


increase Font size decrease Font size

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
spotlight image Sergio Arispe Barrientos, Ambassador of  Bolivia to India is, at 37, the youngest head of mission in New Delhi. Only the second envoy from his country to India, Barrientos, who presented his credentials to the Indian President last month, feels he has arrived at a propitious time, when India’s focus is on so
India is the world's biggest importer of weapons, accounting for 12 percent of global purchases during the past five years because it is not able to produce enough arms to meet its requirements, according to the authoritative Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, writes Arul Louis  
India-China-Pakistan cooperation can transform the subcontinent — joining a renamed CPEC would be a good start, writes Sudheendra Kulkarni
Before the independence of Mauritius from Britain in 1968, the Chagos archipelago was separated as part of the “British Indian Ocean Territory” in 1965, and retained by the UK, writes Priya Pillai
Famous for its pursuit of Gross National Happiness, Bhutan has a new cause for joy: In recognition of its Gross National Income (GNI) growth and social development, the kingdom is poised to graduate from the UN category of the world's poorest known as the Least Developed Countries (LDC), writes Arul Louis
Prem Sharma sells gutka (a combination of betel nuts, tobacco and mouth freshener) and cigarettes near the Vijay Nagar square in Indore, the commercial capital of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. However, the most visible part of his tiny business is the dustbin that he does not dare to lose. The case is similar with pretty

While India has regained its position as the world’s fastest growing large economy – with the uptick in GDP expansion at 6.7% in Q3 of 2017-18 – sustaining it critically depend...


What is history? How does a land become a homeland? How are cultural identities formed? The Making of Early Kashmir explores these questions in relation to the birth of Kashmir and the discursive and material practices that shaped it up to the ...


A group of teenagers in a Karachi high school puts on a production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible— and one goes missing. The incident sets off ripples through their already fraught education in lust and witches, and over the years ...


Title: Do We Not Bleed?: Reflections of a 21-st Century Pakistani; Author: Mehr Tarar; Publisher: Aleph Book Company; Pages: 240; Price: Rs 599


From antiquity, the Muslim faith has been plagued by the portrayal of Muslim men regularly misusing this perceived “right” to divorce their wives instantly by simply uttering “talaq” thrice.


'Another South Asia!' edited by Dev Nath Pathak makes a critical engagement with the questions about South Asia: What is South Asia? How can one pin down the idea of regionalism in South Asia wherein inter-state relations are often char...