This may also be an attempt to clear his own name from the charge that he was totally incompetent in finding bin Laden, as Gen. Shuja Ahmed Lt. General, the current director of ISI, may also be attempting to replace Pasha’s role. Since he has been surrounded by family quarrels and has been inactive, it suggests that he wants to portray himself in the best possible light and hide the decade-long run on bin Laden’s hideout. The reports and interrogation access to the hideout have now been allowed to a retired Army officer, who has debriefed all of them. Bin Laden, who was surrounded by his family of eight children and five grandchildren, as well as his three wives, hid for six years inside a villa in Abbottabad, Pakistan, which was a high-value target.
Bin Laden resided in Pakistan for nearly a decade, primarily in established urban areas rather than secluded tribal regions. During this time, he was located approximately 30 miles away from the capital, which was only an hour’s drive. In 2005, he relocated to the Abbottabad hideout before eventually settling in a house in Haripur, which was a mere 20 miles away from the capital by 2004. Prior to this, he spent a few months in 2003 in the Swat valley, north of Islamabad’s capital, after navigating through Waziristan, an unruly frontier district in Pakistan. KSM was apprehended in Rawalpindi, the military capital of Pakistan, on March 1, 2003. According to ISI’s interrogations, he escaped from Tora Bora in Afghanistan towards the end of 2001 and sought refuge in Kohat, a city near Peshawar in Pakistan, where he had at least one meeting with Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the strategic mastermind behind the 9/11 plot. Amal, bin Laden’s last and youngest wife, who he married in 1999 just before the al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in Aden harbor, Yemen, was present with him for the majority of his remaining life and was likely his favorite companion.
In late 2010, the Iranians released the al Qaeda exiles after a decade of being confined to their homes under mysterious circumstances. Their freedom may have been a result of a trade for an Iranian diplomat whom al Qaeda had abducted, or it may have been a part of a gradual improvement in relations between Tehran and al Qaeda (or possibly both). After residing in Iran since 2001, bin Laden’s eldest wife, a Saudi named Khairiah Saber, arrived at the residence in early 2011, making life in the house more challenging. Khairiah, along with one of bin Laden’s sons and several of his closest associates, had traveled to Iran instead of Pakistan, like most members of al Qaeda, after the fall of Kandahar. Amal suggests that he was in a hospital somewhere in Pakistan or traveling internationally at the time when the ISI was supposedly pursuing him. Some reports mention Karachi as a possible location, while others indicate a place outside of Pakistan, but the specifics of the operation remain unclear. Amal also alleges that he underwent a kidney transplant in 2002. Evidently, the two women did not get along.
Last May, the Taliban also grieved bin Laden’s demise. The ISI is endorsing his campaign. The leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba openly lamented bin Laden after his passing and has been journeying throughout Pakistan since late last year organizing large gatherings advocating for holy war against America and India. Both are in close proximity to the ISI. Additional information that has surfaced in the previous month also indicates that bin Laden communicated from the sanctuary with the leadership of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the so-called Army of the Pure that terrorized Mumbai in November 2008, causing the deaths of six Americans, and with Mullah Omar, the leader of the Afghan Taliban, NATO’s primary adversary in Afghanistan. The depiction that emerges is that of a bustling residence and a hideout that was well-known to the core leadership of al Qaeda, to the extent that the boss’s missing wife could locate it effortlessly.
Abbottabad dismissed him. Musharraf believed bin Laden was somewhere near Abbottabad, his sources informed then-Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf in 2006, the leader of Afghan intelligence has revealed. Due to its high level of security, in 2009 Pakistan conducted its inaugural counterterrorism training exercise with China in Abbottabad. It is extremely well protected that the Kakul Military Academy, located less than a kilometer away from bin Laden’s hideout, Pakistan’s equivalent of West Point, considers it its headquarters, along with three regiments. It remains a military town. Sir James Abbott established it in January 1853 as a garrison city for the British East India Co.’S army. Abbottabad is not your typical Pakistani city.
Many suspected Pakistanis were complicit in the ISI for years. After the SEALs found bin Laden inside a military compound, the ambassador said in an op-ed published in the country’s biggest English-language newspaper that he knew the Army and ISI were aware of the compound, which was likely built by the ISI. During a conference, I asked the former Pakistani ambassador where he thought bin Laden was hiding inside the military compound.
Pasha claims clueless as the response to the question. It is increasingly difficult to trust the accounts provided by the wives. The commission established by the Pakistani government will not disclose the truth. The hiding place has been demolished and the wives are being accused of illegally entering the country. The civilian government is afraid to approach the Army for fear of uncovering the truth. Syed Saleem Shahzad, a journalist, was killed by the ISI last summer for delving too deeply into the answer.