A new account of Osama bin Laden's life on the run after the September 11, 2001 attacks reveals that the al Qaeda leader spent nine years moving through a series of safe houses in Pakistan, not hiding in the mountains on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border as previously believed.
All of the latest information about the last 10 years of bin Laden's life came from testimony given by Amal Ahmed Abdul-Fatah, bin Laden's youngest wife. The 30-year-old Yemeni native told Pakistani investigators that immediately after Sept. 11 the bin Laden family scattered around Pakistan, but within eight or nine months the family was reunited and moved around the country together, the Associated Press reported on Friday.
She further revealed that immediately after the incident of 9/11, they all scattered and she came to Karachi with one of her daughters Safia, a summary of the Pakistani police interrogation said.
According to her memory, she stayed in a flat for about 8/9 months and all the things were arranged by some Pakistan family and Saad [elder son of Osama] was coordinating all the issues.
According to Abdul-Fatah, bin Laden first lived in the Swat valley, then relocated to the city of Haripur, where they stayed for two years, then finally moved just 40 miles away to Abbottabad in 2005.
Bin Laden was killed last May in a walled compound in Abbottabad, which sits just north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. Abdul-Fatah, along with two other wives and a number of children, were detained following a Navy SEAL team operation. She was also shot in the leg during the raid.
Abdul-Fatah also told police that during those years in hiding, bin Laden fathered four children, two of them in government hospitals, leading some U.S. officials to believe that Pakistani authorities knew he was hiding in the country.
The inescapable conclusion is that he was helped by high-level officials in Pakistan, Richard Clarke, a former White House counter-terrorism adviser, told ABC News.
Since the May 2011 raid, a number of American government officials have suspected that Pakistan knew bin Laden's whereabouts, at least in part. The U.S. military did not notify Pakistani authorities about the Abbottabad operation beforehand.
I don't have any hard evidence, so I can't say it for a fact. There's nothing that proves the case. But as I said, my personal view is that somebody somewhere [in Pakistan] probably had that knowledge, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on 60 Minutes in January.
U.S. officials have not confirmed Abdul-Fatah's statement, but according to the New York Times it is consistent with intelligence gathered from the Abbottabad compound.