The leaked Abbotabad Commission Report in Pakistan is creating some sensation. The commission was formed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011. The report was leaked and published by Al Jazeera news channel on July 8, 2013.
A lot of things came out of the report mostly various accounts of Osama Bin Laden moving around and residing in different parts of Pakistan. The commission called the handling of bin Laden affair a 'national disgrace' stating that Pakistan's intelligence establishment had "closed the book" on bin Laden by 2005, and was no longer actively pursuing intelligence that could lead to his capture.
What is quite interesting is the account of Osama Bin Laden’s wives and that of his body guard and companion Ibrahim. Details from the women’s point of view came out of the interviews conducted by the investigators and researchers of the women captured from the Abbotabad compound. Most of the information comes from Osma Bin Laden’s youngest wife Amel and Maryam, wife of Ibrahim, one of the men working for Osama Bin laden in Pakistan.
Meeting Osama Bin Laden:
Maryam recounted in the report of when she traveled with her husband and met a tall ‘clean shaven’ Arab man and his wife Amal. Their car was pulled over by a policeman who did not realize that the tall, clean-shaven man was none other than Osama bin Laden.
In 2005, they all moved to Abbottabad and settled into a walled compound for the next six years. The tall Arab and Amal, along with several other women and a young man, took the upper floors of the main house. Abrar and Bushra took the first floor while Maryam and Ibrahim occupied an annex building along with their children.
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Life in Abbotabad:
Here is what comes out of the women’s account of how was Osama Bin Laden’s Life in Abbotabad:
Osama hated having possessions: he had three shalwar suits for summer and winter each, a black jacket and two sweaters.
He hardly had any security as he trusted in Allah in all matters, including his safety. The family only had two Pathan men named Abrar and Ibrahim working for them who did the shopping and other chores outside the house and served as guards as well. However, their own families never interacted with the masters they served. They lived in the same compound but it was separated from the main house by a wall. They abstained from using their cell phones. They apparently had cell phones which they never used as the rule and one of the two brothers usually travelled as far as Peshawar or even Rawalpindi to use a pay phone if need arose.
Osama’s son Khalid took care of maintenance tasks like plumbing etc and hence there was never a need to have anyone come in for chores etc.
Needless to say OBL’s family never socialized with anyone. He took care of his ailments through natural and traditional medication. He usually ate chocolate and apple to fight tiredness and lethargy.
He avoided going out in the compound too much but when he did, he wore a cowboy hat to avoid detection.
He liked to teach and play with his grand children but within the house.
Maryam’s young daughter Rahma used to call Osama ‘Miskin Kaka’ or ‘Poor Uncle’ because she was told by her father that the man living on the top floor never went out because he was too poor.
The men often watched cable TV, especially Al-Jazeera news. Maryam remembers being allowed to watch TV with the other women and children as long as even those as young as 3 years old covered their faces whenever a male appeared on screen.
However, one day Rahma saw someone familiar on Al Jazeera and recognized him as Miskin Kaka! They were not allowed to watch TV after that.
The SEAL Raid and Killing of Osama Bin Laden
The report also has Maryam’s version of the incidents of May 1st 2011. She tells how she was awakened around midnight by “a noise of a magnitude she had never heard before.”
The cell phone Ibrahim never used rang. He answered and asked if it was his brother calling, but he got no response. “Abrar, I cannot hear you, I am coming,” he said.
At that moment, a knock came at the door. “Abrar, is that you?” Ibrahim asked.
Ibrahim was opening the door when he was shot fatally. Maryam also felt a bullet graze her cheek and teeth. She was also hit in the right shoulder.
Maryam was ordered to sit outside with her children and the other women. The wife of his other bodyguard Abrar was killed in the ambush.
The surviving women in the main house told the commission of bin Laden’s last moments, saying he was reaching for his weapon when he was shot and killed. The Seals carried away bin Laden’s body, computer hard drives, and a purse containing his will in a helicopter. His oldest wife, Khairiyyah said she had read it but refused to divulge its contents.
The women and children of the Abbotabad compound have since left Pakistan.