Most people in Pakistan seem to know except the Government.
ABBOTABAD, Pakistan — Osama bin Laden‘s young daughter has told Pakistani officials that she saw her father shot and killed by armed Americans when they raided a house here early Monday, an official with Pakistan’s spy agency said Tuesday.
The official, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject, said the daughter, whom he described as being 12 or 13 years old, was one of eight or nine children in the house when a team of U.S. Navy SEALs stormed the complex by helicopter.
“We have no independent confirmation of Osama bin Laden being there or dying there except what we got from the daughter,” said the official, a member of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
Local residents said the two men who built the house identified themselves usually as Arshad and Tariq Khan, though they also went by the names of Rashid, Ahmed and Nadeem. They were ethnic Pashtuns from near Peshawar, Pakistan, residents said they were told. Most people who live in Abbottabad aren’t Pashtun.
Arshad, the older brother, was in his 40s, chubby and had a “goaty”-style beard, while the younger man, Tariq, had a mustache, residents said.
The two men explained the compound’s unusually thick walls by saying they were involved in a violent feud in their home village — something not unusual in that region — and that they needed to prevent their women from being seen — in accordance with strict Islamic custom.
Residents here said the two were friendly, and often could be seen with children buying soft drinks and candy at a nearby shop. Though they didn’t socialize with locals, they did take part in the local custom of visiting neighbors to offer condolences for a death or celebrate weddings and births, residents said.
They had one immutable rule, however — when children playing nearby accidently knocked a ball into the compound, they weren’t allowed to collect it.
Residents confirmed U.S. officials’ claims that the house was built in 2005.
“I worked on the house construction as a laborer. There was nothing unusual about how it was built, except the size of the compound wall,” said Rasheed, 32, a shopkeeper who said the brothers frequently visited his shop with five to seven children that he assumed were theirs. “Because of the wall, people thought that they were smugglers, not terrorists.”
Rasheed said the wall, which is at least 12 feet tall and topped with barbed wire, is about three feet thick.
When a woman involved in a polio vaccine drive turned up at Osama bin Laden’s hideaway, she remarked to the men behind the high walls about the expensive SUVs parked inside. The men took the vaccine, apparently to administer to the 23 children at the compound, and told her to go away.
The terror chief and his family kept well hidden behind thick walls in this northwestern hill town they shared with thousands of Pakistani soldiers. But glimpses of their life are emerging — along with deep skepticism that authorities didn’t know they were there.