Finding Bin Laden Raises Questions About Pakistan’s Complicity

By Robert Baer

Now I finally understand how Osama bin Laden eluded our grasp for all of these years — he was hiding in the open, in the backyard of one of our supposed allies. Let’s put this in context: Pakistan is a police state where foreigners do not go unnoticed, even when they’re living behind the high walls of a compound. On top of that, the compound where bin Laden was killed early Monday in a U.S. raid all but abutted the base of the Pakistani Army’s 2nd Brigade. I can’t help but suspect then that some Pakistani officials, at some level, were harboring bin Laden. And what about Pakistan itself? I don’t have a clue, but I suspect the worst on that one too.

When bin Laden first disappeared off the U.S. radar in late 2001 at Tora Bora, a lot of people entertained every foolish conspiracy theory they could imagine, ranging from the suggestion that the al-Qaeda leader was in Riyadh as a guest of the Saudi royal family to the idea that he was at Area 51, protected by the CIA. During a prolonged visit to Islamabad three years ago I asked a local American correspondent who’d been in country for five years where she thought bin Laden was. She looked out the window at the house across the street: “Maybe there,” she said. “Who knows about this country?” …

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