Conflict & Justice

Osama bin Laden fathered 4 children while on the run, wife says


A Pakistani police commando stands guard outside a house where family members of Osama bin Laden are believed be be held, in Islamabad on March 26, 2012.



Osama bin Laden fathered four children — at least two of whom were born in government hospitals — and lived in five safe houses during nine years on the run in Pakistan following the 9/11 attacks, his youngest wife has reportedly said.

According to a report in the Indian Express, Amal Ahmad Abdul Fateh, 30, told Pakistani investigators that the Al Qaeda leader traveled across Pakistan with his family until the US Navy SEAL raid in May 2011 that killed him at the age of 54.

Fateh, from Yemen, was arrested at bin Laden's compound near the Pakistani capital Islamabad, along with her five children and two of his Saudi wives.

Agence France-Presse cited the Pakistani police report of the interrogation of Fatah as saying that she was born into a family of 17 children and married bin Laden because "she had a desire to marry a Mujahedeen."

She said she came to Karachi in July 2000 and months later crossed into Afghanistan to join her husband and his two other wives on a farm outside Kandahar, his base at the time.

However, the attacks of Sept. 11 "caused the Bin Laden family to scatter," the New York Times reported.

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Fateh returned with her newborn daughter Safia to Karachi for about nine months during which time she shifted between seven houses arranged by "some Pakistani family" and bin Laden's elder son, Saad.

She was reunited with her husband in Peshawar in the second half of 2002.

At the time, the search for bin Laden was focused on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area, and had intensified as Al Qaeda operatives had attacked an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya and nightclubs in Indonesia.  

The Times wrote that the report raised "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." 

The report also recommended that Fatah and her children be immediately deported.

All three widows of bin Laden face charges of illegally entering and residing in Pakistan.

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