The world’s most wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden was killed on May 2, 2011 in a US Navy SEALs raid at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. He was 54 years old at the time of his death. The news of Osama’s death spread like a wild fire in the entire world. It was a huge victory for the U.S. in the war against terrorism and to eradicate Al Qaeda and a huge defeat to Al Qaeda. The news created a mix reaction in the world. In the U.S., crowds of young and old poured out on streets late at night chanting “USA, USA” while half way across the world in Pakistan, where Osama was killed, crowds were enraged at his death, held rallies and chanted “death to America,” and held mock funerals in his honor.
Before going in to the details of the background and aftermath of his death, a brief introduction of the city of Abbottabad is very significant which shows why Osama was staying there. Abbottabad is located in Northern Pakistan and is famous for its cool weather and beautiful terrain. It is the Aspen of Pakistan. Since, my family is from that region, hence growing up I used to spend my summers there. It was a summer getaway hill spot for us and the city was always crowded of tourists from across the world. It is a heaven for the retirees too. As Osama was getting old and weak, this city was a best place for him to stay as it had a mixture of both urban facilities and natural scenery.
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According to the U.S government, Osama was hiding in Abbottabad for about five years as one headline at CNN’s website states, “Officials: Bin Laden ‘complacent’ in Pakistan, no sign of escape plan.” The question arises how he got in Pakistan and was able to stay there and had no plans to flee. A hypothesis can be made that Osama had a deal with Pakistani intelligence agencies and was able to escape from Afghan mountains to a comfortable city of Abbottabad. This city houses Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) where every year thousands of army soldiers are trained. The whole city is built around Army barracks, schools and hospitals. The security of Army institutions and personnel had increased many folds due to the suicide attacks in recent years.
A follow up question arises how Pakistani government and intelligence not knew where Osama was hiding. He was living peacefully under the nose of the military base camp. Living in Pakistan for 19 years, I often read this phrase in newspapers saying, “Even a bird can’t fly without the orders of ISI.” ISI is a famous Pakistani intelligence agency known for its role in South East Asian conflicts. ISI has been using jihadi militants to keep a check on Pakistani politicians, on Indians in Kashmir and on the government in Afghanistan. I personally think ISI knew where Osama bin Laden was, had a deal with him, provided him protection with a huge compound with barb wired high walls and security cameras and that is how he was able to stay so comfortably in Pakistan. I have absolutely no doubt that Pakistani intelligence did not know where he was.
After Osama’s death, according to CNN’s website, Al Qaeda vowed to attack Pakistanis and Americans. Al Qaeda proclaimed that Osama’s death was because of “handful of traitors and thieves.” This statement clearly shows that Al Qaeda had a deal with handful of officials in Pakistani government or ISI to gain protection for their leader. Without Pakistanis protection, it would not have been possible for a foreigner like Osama, who could not even speak the local language, “hide” in Pakistan for several years.
* Al Qaeda threats, terror plans surface. (06 May 2011). Retrieved from http://articles.cnn.com/2011-05-06/world/pakistan.bin.laden_1_bin-laden-terrorist-network-sheikh-osama-al-qaeda?_s=PM:WORLD. Date accessed: 12 May 2011. * Starr, B., & Benson, P. (12 May 2011). Officials: Bin Laden ‘complacent’ in Pakistan, no sign of escape plan. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/05/12/us.bin.laden.compound/index.html?iref=allsearch. Date accessed: 12 May 2011. * Walsh, D., Adams R., & MacAskill, E. Osama bin Laden is dead, Obama announces. (2 May 2011). Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/02/osama-bin-laden-dead-obama. Date accessed: 12 May 2011.