HARIPUR, Pakistan — It’s an ornate but not lavish two-story house tucked away at the end of a mud clogged street. This is where Pakistan’s intelligence agency believes Osama Bin Laden lived for nearly a year until he moved into the villa in which he was eventually killed.
The residence in the frontier town of Haripur was one of five safe houses used by the slain Al-Qaeda leader while on the run in Pakistan according to information revealed by his youngest wife, who has been detained.
Retired Pakistani Brig. Shaukat Qadir, who has spent the last eight months tracking Bin Laden’s movements, told The Associated Press that he was taken to the Haripur house last November by intelligence agents who located it from a description they got from Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah Al-Sada.
The best information appears to have come from Al-Sada, who was believed to be his favorite and who traveled with Bin Laden since his escape from Afghanistan’s eastern Tora Bora mountain range in 2001.
Qadir, a 35-year army veteran who is now a security consultant, was given rare access to transcripts of Pakistani intelligence’s interrogation of Al-Sada and access to other documents on Bin Laden’s movements.
He provided the AP with details in a recent interview.
The details of Bin Laden’s life as a fugitive — which were first published by the Pakistani newspaper Dawn — raise fresh questions over how Bin Laden was able to remain undetected for so long in Pakistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, despite being the subject of a massive international manhunt.
Yet a senior US official, who is familiar with the contents recovered in Bin Laden’s Abbottabad house, said there was no evidence that Pakistani officials were aware of Bin Laden’s presence.
Al-Sada’s descriptions of the homes have been vague and the Haripur house was found only after a series of hits and misses.
She knew only that it was located on the edge of Haripur, it was two stories and it had a basement. It apparently was used by Bin Laden while he waited for construction crews to finish his new home Abbottabad, a garrison town just 30 kilometers away.
The AP located the Haripur house that Qadir said ISI agents had taken him to last November and found the real estate broker, Pir Mohammed, who rented the four-bedroom house to the two brothers, Salim and Javed Khan from Charsadda, for $150 a month.
At the time Pir Mohammed ran a small real estate firm called Mashallah. He said his meeting with the brothers was random.
“They must have seen my sign and come in,” Mohammed said, adding that he had met the brothers only three times — when they signed the contract, when they moved into the house and when they moved out 11 months later. — AP