Following are excerpts
from an interview with Pakistani security analyst Ali Mahr, which aired
on Al-Arabiya TV on May 27, 2011:
Ali Mahr: I don't
see why it should be surprising that Bin Laden was found in a large
Pakistani city. Abbottabad is not a small town. All the top Al-Qaeda
commanders arrested in Pakistan, by Pakistani forces – like Khalid
Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zbeida, Ramzi bin Al-Shiba, and Abu Yasser Al-Jaziri
– were found in Pakistan's largest cities, like Rawalpindi, Lahore,
Karachi, or Faisalabad. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that
Bin Laden had stayed for a long time in a large Pakistani city.
There is military presence in Abbottabad. There is a military college
and some military and security compounds there. Many people are asking
how Bin Laden managed to live for years in this city, despite its special
Ali Mahr: This
was the tactic Bin Laden chose for his protection. Instead of staying
in mountains and villages, where there are few people, he chose to stay
in a large urban city, where no one would be suspicious, especially
since he did not leave the house too often. Local Pashtun families lived
there as well, so no one would be suspicious if Pashtuns would come
I can say that this was
a successful tactic. The army and the intelligence agency, as institutions,
did not necessarily know this, but certain individuals within these
institutions may have known, and who may even have been sympathetic
to him. It is well known that within the Pakistani intelligence agency
and army, there are people who sympathize with Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.
We have seen several
attacks on former president Pervez Musharraf's convoy and on other officials,
and eventually, after the investigation, officers and soldiers were
arrested for being in contact and for coordinating with the attackers.
this mean that some military men, perhaps of low ranks, may have helped
Osama Bin Laden, or may have turned a blind eye all these years in Abbottabad?
Ali Mahr: We cannot
exclude this possibility. As you know, the former senior officers were
in contact with Bin Laden and coordinated with him, in the days of the
Afghan Jihad and later on. Therefore, it is possible. It is well known
that several former Pakistani generals visited Sudan and met with Osama
Bin Laden when he was there.