His Last Haven was a Pakistani Military Town – Abbottobad Villa Were bin Laden was Killed
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report: May 2, 2011, 10:38 AM (GMT+0200)
US military and intelligence sources disclose that Abbottabad, where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was shot dead Sunday night, May 2, by a squadron of US Seals, is a Pakistani garrison town where a large military base is located. His villa was just 100 meters away from Pakistan's military academy and 120 kilometers from the capital, Islamabad and Pakistani intelligence headquarters. Far from being holed up in a remote mountain cave, he lived in comfort in a million-dollar three-storey villa with his close family around him in a semi-urban area. These disclosures indicate that the Pakistani military and its intelligence must have known who was living in the exceptionally large, heavily guarded villa in their midst and in plain sight and kept the knowledge from the Americans.
The villa compound was encircled by 12-15 meter high walls topped by 7 foot privacy wall and barbed wire accessed through two steel, electrically-operated security gates. The Pakistanis could not have missed it when it was built in 2005 and more buildings were added later.
It is also emerging that the town of Abbottabad came to the notice of US intelligence four months ago: It was there that Indonesian al-Qaida's Umar Patek was arrested in Jan. 2011. He was on the run from a $1 million US bounty on his head, for helping mastermind the 2002 suicide bombings of nightclubs in Bali that killed 202 people. It would therefore seem that Abbottabad in Pakistan's North West Frontier region provided sanctuary not only for bin Laden but also for some of his high-profile Al Qaeda operations officers.
In his announcement of the al Qaeda leader's death, President Barack Obama glossed over Pakistan's complicity in keeping him hidden because – quite simply, the Afghanistan War may have lost its main target but it is far from over and the United States needs Islamabad to bring it to a conclusion. Taliban, which denies bin Laden was killed, will do its utmost to prove it is fully capable of fighting on without him and going on to defeat the Americans, NATO and Afghan President Hamid Karzai's army.
What effect the passing of the jihadist terrorist mastermind will have on future Pakistani cooperation with the US in the Afghanistan war is still moot. Islamabad may decide to go with the Taliban rather than the United States because of its overriding fear of Indian expansion and interest in using Afghanistan to gain strategic depth by means of a controlling influence in Kabul. To this end, Pakistani leaders may throw their support behind the Taliban rather than the Americans who will eventually leave. This would confront the US-led coalition forces fight' in Afghanistan with an escalated military challenge henceforth.