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Pakistani interrogations of bin Laden's three wives reveal details about how the al Qaeda leader lived
One of the three wives living with Osama bin Laden in the Pakistan compound where he was killed claims she did not leave the upper floors of the hideout for five or six years.
The woman, Yemini-born Amal Ahmed Abdullfattah, is shedding new light on how the al Qaeda leader lived during the 10 years he evaded capture after September 11, the Associated Press reported.
Her revelations came as details emerged of a possible attack on U.S. trains on the 10th anniversary of September 11. Information gathered from bin Laden’s Abbottabad hideout indicated that as early as February 2010, al Qaeda members discussed a plan to derail trains in the U.S. by placing obstructions on tracks over bridges and valleys, according to one law enforcement official.
The AP cited an anonymous Pakistani intelligence official with knowledge of the interrogations of bin Laden’s three wives including Abdullfattah, saying that she had lived there for six years. CNN separately reported the figure of five years.
Pakistani authorities are also holding eight or nine children who were found there after the U.S. commandos raided the compound on Sunday and shot bin Laden dead.
On Friday, President Barack Obama was scheduled to meet members of SEAL team six, which carried out the raid and killed bin Laden. A senior administration official told CNN the meeting between Obama and members of the SEAL team would take place at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it would be a private meeting.
The wives' accounts of the time spent in the Abbottabad compound should shed light on how bin Laden spent his time and how he managed to avoid capture.
Also, given the murkiness of some details of the raid, the women’s testimony may reveal aspects on which U.S. officials have been vague have changed their story.
The bin Laden killing has strained relations between the U.S. and Pakistan, which regards the raid as a breach of its sovereignty. Pakistan has in turn faced questions about how bin Laden was able to live comfortably for so long just 35 miles from the nation’s capital Islamabad.
A Pakistani official told AP that CIA officers had not been given access to the women in custody. The intelligence official did not say whether the Yemeni wife indicated bin Laden was also living there since 2006.
A security official said she was shot in the leg during the operation, and did not witness her husband being killed.
"We are still getting information from them," he said.
A senior Pakistani intelligence official said bin Laden was "cash strapped" in his final days and that al Qaeda had split into two factions, with the larger one controlled by the group's second-in-command, Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, AP reported.
Late Thursday, two Pakistani officials cited the women and children as saying bin Laden and his associates had not offered any "significant resistance" when the U.S. Navy SEALS entered the compound. The occupants had been disorientated by "stun bombs," they said.
One official said Pakistani authorities found an AK-47 and a pistol in the house, with evidence that one bullet had been fired from the rifle.
"That was the level of resistance" they put up, said the official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.
His account is roughly consistent with the most recent one given by U.S. officials, who now say one of the five people, killed in the raid was armed and fired any shots, a striking departure from the intense and prolonged firefight described earlier by the White House and others in the administration.