Pakistan Still Holding Osama bin Laden's Wives and Children

Despite statements months ago by Pakistan that the wives and children present at the Abouutabad compound the night Osama bin Laden was killed would be released and returned to their home countries, Pakistan is still holding them.

The family of Amal al Sadah, Osama bin Laden's youngest wife who is from Yemen, has petitioned the chief justice of Pakistan to order her and her children's release and return to Yemen. Last October, the Pakistani commission that investigated and interviewed the wives recommended they be sent home.

Al Sadah's brother, who has been in Pakistan waiting to take them home, alleges the children and wives are being kept in poor conditions, deprived of adequate medical care and sunlight and that the children are traumatized and have not been allowed to go to school. [More..]

In addition to Amal al Sadah and her children Ibrahim, about 8, Asia, around 7, Zainab, around 5, and Hussain, around 3, Pakistan is holding Osama's Saudi wives Khairiah, aged around 62, and Siham, around 54, and four of Osama's grandchildren. The grandchildren are believed to be the children of Obama and Siham's son Khalid bin Laden, who was killed in the raid.

Yemen has recommended the return of Amal al Sadah. The Saudis don't seem to be in favor of the return of his other wives.

What do the Pakistani's want with the widows? Perhaps more information about Hamza bin Laden, the son who remains unaccounted for and may have escaped the raid.

A Pakistani intelligence source told The Telegraph that the widows' testimony, as well as differing accounts of what happened during the raid, meant they could not account for one person who they believe had been living at the house.

"We don't know if it was his son. Someone, one person, may have been in the compound that we now cannot account for if we believe what we are being told," the source said.

Or perhaps they think the women know something about Osama bin Laden's alleged ISI handler, former Brigadier General Ijaz Shah. Former CIA official Bruce Reidel writes in the Daily Beast about the allegation of former Army Chief Ziauddin Khwaja that Musharraf knew where Bin Laden was staying.

Ziauddin says that the safe house in Abbottabad was made to order for bin Laden by another Pakistani intelligence officer, Brig. Gen. Ijaz Shah, who was the ISI bureau head in Lahore when Musharraf staged his coup. Musharraf later made him head of the intelligence bureau, the ISI’s rival in Pakistan’s spy-versus-spy wars. Ziauddin says Ijaz Shah was responsible for setting up bin Laden in Abbottabad, ensuring his safety and keeping him hidden from the outside. And Ziauddin says Musharraf knew all about it.

Reidel says the information was first reported in the Militant Leadership Monitor. (See here.)

Former Pakistani Army Chief General Ziauddin Butt (a.k.a. General Ziauddin Khawaja) revealed at a conference on Pakistani-U.S. relations in October 2011 that according to his knowledge the then former Director-General of Intelligence Bureau of Pakistan (2004 – 2008), Brigadier Ijaz Shah (Retd.), had kept Osama bin Laden in an Intelligence Bureau safe house in Abbottabad. In the same address, he revealed that the ISI had helped the CIA to track him down and kill on May 1. The revelation remained unreported for some time because some intelligence officers had asked journalists to refrain from publishing General Butt’s remarks. [1] No mention of the charges appeared until right-wing columnist Altaf Hassan Qureshi referred to them in an Urdu-language article that appeared on December 8.

A snapshot of Ijaz Shah is here.

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  • Display: Sort:
    The Kids Are in A Bad Place... (none / 0) (#1)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 01:44:56 PM EST
    ...but the wives, surely they had to know being married to OBL might have some unpleasant ramifications.

    If I read the above right, the ISI Director stored him and other ISI agents, with help from the CIA tracked him down to the same facility after the Director left ?

    I don't even know what to make of that.

    What to Make of This? (none / 0) (#2)
    by msaroff on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 03:38:06 PM EST
    The Pakistanis are terrified that his wives will rat them out.

    This has been another episode of simple answers to simple questions.


    But They Are The Ones Holding Them (none / 0) (#3)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 04:37:09 PM EST
    My question was more about US/Pakistan relations, and how we are going to deal with a split intelligence agency in Pakistan that may have people still in it who helped hide OBL.

    Not real concerned about OBL enablers being scared they might be exposed by one of his wives.  That doesn't really explain why the Saudis don't want them released either.  And it's clearly not the entire agency.

    So I am still unsure what any of this means in terms of US policy and security.


    Are you serious? (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 04:04:47 AM EST
    In their culture he was a hero, IF they had a choice in the matter at all.  The only wife I know of who might actually have gotten a say in whether or not she would be his wife was his last wife from Yemen.  Course much of that could simply be her family putting a beautiful and devout face upon what they made her do.

    Don't get Islamic fundy culture mixed up with ours.  Don't think their women get to make the same decisions or say NO and LET PEOPLE DOWN like they may be able to do in our culture.


    Don't Assume Something You Don't Know (none / 0) (#6)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 11:21:15 AM EST
    You can't possibly know if these were forced marriages, which actually has nothing to do with the story.

    Obviously what you understand about the (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 11:38:37 AM EST
    culture would fit into a thimble.

    I believe this is ALL ABOUT (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 04:07:04 AM EST
    Pakistan being exposed for harboring and nurturing Osama bin Laden.  The wives and children will be able to give account of who visited the compound and protected it from outside scrutiny.