Osama`s widows expected to leave Pak soon

Last Updated: Saturday, December 10, 2011 - 21:02

Islamabad: Three of Osama bin Laden`s widows, who were captured following the US raid that killed the al Qaeda leader, are soon expected to leave Pakistan after seven months in custody, according to a media report.

The three women- two Saudis and one Yemeni- were picked
up by Pakistani security officials early on the morning of May
2 in Abbottabad, just minutes after US Navy SEALs killed bin
Laden in the compound where he was believed to be living for
six years.

A Pakistani intelligence official told a news agency that the
three widows had been cleared to leave Pakistan a month ago.
Saudi Arabia recently restored the citizenship of wives
Khairiah Sabar and Siham Sabar, according to Saudi newspaper
Al-Hayat.

Amal Ahmed Abdul Fatah, another wife from Yemen, will likely go to Qatar, according to The Guardian newspaper.
Two Western officials said they were not surprised by the
announcement but cautioned that the repatriation of the women
might not happen quickly.

US officials have been generally dismissive of the wives`
relevance to investigations into bin Laden since failing to
get information out of them.

The three women have been held by Pakistan`s intelligence
service since May but it is not clear they ever knew enough to
shed light on bin Laden`s travels after 2001 and how he came
to be living in Abbottabad, ABC News reported.
US officials told the channel they were allowed to speak
to the women once, and that the oldest of the three was "so
combative that nothing at all came from the interrogation".

Pakistani officials have not said "how much, if anything,
they learned from the women", who were debriefed by Pakistani
intelligence officials and a judicial commission investigating
bin Laden`s presence in the country.

The commission`s head, former apex court judge Javed
Iqbal, said on Thursday that bin Laden`s widows and children
had been thoroughly questioned and their statements recorded.

The commission had informed the government that the women
and children could be repatriated to their own country as they
were no longer needed, he said.

In the months after the US raid, Pakistani and American
officials described the women as uncooperative and it was not
clear that they knew much about bin Laden`s work, especially
in Abbottabad, a news agency reported.

Bin Laden and his wives apparently lived on the top two
floors of the three-storey house in the compound at Abbottabad
but the al Qaeda leader could separate himself as much as he
wished. The house was built to sustain multiple families
independent of each other.

The world`s most wanted man was married five times, but
was separated from two of his wives. Bin Laden`s first wife, a
Syrian, left him shortly before the 9/11 terror attacks and
his fourth wife divorced him.

In the dramatic moments after the US commandos left
Abbottabad, it was the wives who first identified bin Laden as
among the dead.

Pakistani military officers reached the house about 15
minutes after the SEALs departed. The three women were
handcuffed and screaming in Arabic, their children running
around them, according to Pakistani officials.

One of the Pakistani officers was finally able to
communicate with one of the Saudi wives in broken English.
"They killed him! They killed Abu Hamza," she screamed,
according to an account provided to ABC News in May.

The Pakistani official had no idea what she was talking
about. "What are you saying? Who is Abu Hamza?" he asked.
She seemed surprised that he didn`t understand the
significance of the raid. "Osama bin Laden," she replied.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, December 10, 2011 - 15:39

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