By Emmanuel Duparcq / AFP
ISLAMABAD: Osama bin Laden fathered four children as he hid out in Pakistan after the 9/11 attacks, his youngest wife told interrogators, according to a police report seen by AFP on Friday.
Amal Abdulfattah’s account provides rare details of the Al-Qaeda leader’s life from when he fled Afghanistan in late 2001 until his death aged 54 last May during a US Navy SEAL operation in Abbottabad, in Pakistan.
Abdulfattah, from Yemen, was arrested by Pakistani authorities following the US raid on bin Laden’s compound near the Pakistani capital Islamabad, along with two of his Saudi wives, and her five children.
The three detained widows face charges of illegally entering and residing in Pakistan. Abdulfattah, 30, was shot while trying to protect her husband, according to the US.
The Pakistan police report, dated January 19, said Abdulfattah was born into a family of 17 children and married bin Laden because “she had a desire to marry a Mujahedeen”, using the term for “holy warrior”.
The report, from the office of the inspector general of police in Islamabad, recommended Abdulfattah and her children to be immediately deported.
After arriving in Pakistan in July 2000 on a three-month visa, in the company of her sister and brother-in-law, Abdulfattah travelled to Kandahar, in neighboring Afghanistan, at the time capital of the Taliban regime.
The date of her marriage to bin Laden was not specified, but the police report said afterwards she moved in with him and his other two wives.
“She further revealed that after the incident of 9/11, they all scattered and she came to Karachi with one of her daughter’s, Safia,” the report said. Safia, her first child by the Al-Qaeda kingpin, was born in Kandahar in 2001.
She stayed in Karachi for eight to nine months, moving between homes arranged for them by Pakistani families and bin Laden’s oldest son Saad.
Abdulfattah then met back with the fleeing bin Laden in Peshawar, in northwest Pakistan. The report suggests that the pair did not part from that moment until the raid in Abbottabad.
They stayed for eight or nine months in Swat, then for two years in Haripur, 90 minutes from Islamabad, before moving to the garrison town of Abbottabad in 2005.
During this time, Abdulfattah had four other children by bin Laden, by then the most-wanted man in the world.
In Haripur, Aasia, a girl, was born in 2003 and Ibrahim, a boy, was born the next year.
On both occasions Abdulfattah gave birth in a public hospital, the police report said.
The other two children, Zainab, a girl, and Hussain, a boy, were born in Abbottabad in 2006 and 2008.
According to the report, the family movements while they were on the run were organized by “Ibrahim and Abrar”, two Pakistanis given responsibility for the task by members of Al-Qaeda.
Both the men were killed by the Americans during the raid on Abbottabad and had been living in the same compound, along with Ibrahim’s wife, Bushra, and bin Laden’s son, Khalid.
The continued detention of bin Laden’s wives has led to accusations that Pakistan is attempting to muzzle them to stop them from providing details that could embarrass Islamabad or add to suspicions it knew where bin Laden was.
Pakistan was humiliated by the covert American operation that killed the Al-Qaeda leader in the early hours of May 2, practically on the doorstep of the country’s elite military academy.