Before President Obama had Osama bin Laden dispatched, Spiegel reports that Bin Laden was living large in a high-end neighborhood shared by Pakistani generals:
It had long been assumed that he [Osama bin Laden] was hiding out in a cave somewhere in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, but he had been living in comfort behind high walls and barbed wire in a luxury residence worth around $1 million dollars, a US government official told Reuters.
The compound had neither an Internet nor a telephone connection. According to the New York Times, the al-Qaida terrorists inside burned their rubbish themselves rather than putting it outside for collection. . . .
Although densely populated, Abbottabad is regarded as one of Pakistan’s most beautiful cities. An interesting detail is that many Pakistani generals live here, and that the building is close to a military academy. . . .
The house at the end of a narrow dirt road is roughly eight times larger than other homes in the area.
And this was in the Los Angeles Times:
[The house had] extraordinary security features, a senior intelligence official said. Its 12- and 18-foot walls were topped with barbed wire. Internal walls provided extra security. It had no Internet or telephone connection. And its resident burned trash rather than dumping it.
It was officials said, exactly the kind of place that would harbor Bin Laden. In fact, they said, the U.S believed the compound was built precisely for that purpose five years ago, although it remains unknown when exactly Bin Laden and his family arrived there.
But they never knew for certain it was the Al Qaeda leader. The size of his family matched up — and analysts ultimately had “high confidence” he was living there with his youngest wife and other family members.
That Bin Laden was caught in the heart of the Pakistani state may deepen the mistrust between the U.S. and its nominal anti-terrorist ally, which is the recipient of billions of dollars in U.S. military aid.
Let’s speak plainly: there are at least some al-Qaeda sympathetic elements in the Pakistani military that conspired to shelter Osama bin Laden, and if those elements ever succeed in taking control of the government as a whole, the world will be on the brink of a nuclear war (Pakistan has 60-100 nuclear weapons).
This is the most important news here. Abbottabad. Not that a cult figure is dead, but where he was found. Sobriety about Pakistan’s political, religious, and cultural condition—not jubilation—is what locating and killing Osama bin Laden should have registered (and will register as people think about it some more).