Testimony from Osama bin Laden's youngest wife reveals the movements of the Qaeda leader before he was killed in a U.S. raid in May 2011.
Osama bin Laden spent nine years on the run in Pakistan after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, during which time he moved among five safe houses and fathered four children, at least two of whom were born in a government hospital, his youngest wife has told Pakistani investigators.
The testimony of Amal Ahmad Abdul Fateh, Bin Laden's 30-year-old wife, offers the most detailed account yet of life on the run for the Bin Laden family in the years preceding the U.S. commando raid in May 2011 that killed the leader of Al Qaeda at the age of 54.
Her account is contained in a police report dated Jan. 19 that, as a report of that frantic period, contains manifest flaws: Ms. Fateh's words are paraphrased by a police officer, and there is noticeably little detail about the Pakistanis who helped her husband evade his U.S. pursuers. Nevertheless, it raises more questions about how the world's most wanted man managed to shunt his family between cities that span the breadth of Pakistan, apparently undetected and unmolested by the otherwise formidable security services.
Bin Laden's three widows are of great interest because they hold the answers to some of the questions that frustrated Western intelligence in the years after 2001. They are currently under house arrest in Islamabad, and their lawyer says he expects them and two adult children -- Bin Laden's daughters Maryam, 21, and Sumaya, 20 - - to be charged on Monday with breaking Pakistani immigration laws, which carries a possible five-year jail sentence.
The wives have cooperated with the authorities to varying degrees. Investigators say the older women, named in court documents as Kharia Hussain Sabir and Siham Sharif, both citizens of Saudi Arabia, have largely refused to cooperate with investigators. However, Ms. Fateh, who was wounded in the raid that killed her husband, has spoken out.
The report, by a joint investigative panel made up of civilian and military officials, was first noted by the Pakistani newspaper Dawn on Thursday; The New York Times, of which the International Herald Tribune is the global edition, later obtained a copy of the filing. In Washington, U.S. officials said that while they could not confirm every detail of the report, it appeared generally consistent with what is known and believed about Bin Laden's movements.
In the report's account, Ms. Fateh said she agreed to marry Bin Laden in 2000 because "she had a desire of marrying a mujahid." She flew into Karachi in July that year and, months later, crossed into Afghanistan to join Bin Laden and two other wives at his base on a farm outside Kandahar.
The Sept. 11 attacks caused the Bin Laden family to "scatter," the report said. She returned to Karachi with her newborn daughter, Safia, where they stayed for about nine months. They changed houses up to seven times under arrangements brokered by "some Pakistani family" and Bin Laden's elder son, Saad.
Other senior Qaeda figures were also in Karachi, a sprawling city of up to 18 million. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the architect of the Sept. 11 attacks, claims to have personally killed the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl there during this period; he was
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