Pakistan deports bin Laden family to Saudi Arabia

Apr 27, 2012, 12:49 AM

Associated Press

ISLAMABAD (AP) – Pakistani authorities deported Osama bin Laden’s three widows and his children to Saudi Arabia early Friday, less than a week before the first anniversary of the unilateral American raid that killed the al-Qaida leader in his hideout in a military town.

The departure of the family closed another chapter in an affair that cemented Pakistan’s reputation as a hub of Islamist extremism and cast doubt on its trustworthiness as a Western ally.

Once outside Pakistan, the wives may be willing to share any information they have about how bin Laden managed to evade capture in the country for nearly a decade following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States.

The U.S. commandos took bin Laden’s body, which they later buried at sea, but left his family behind. His wives and children were detained by Pakistani authorities immediately after the pre-dawn raid on May 2, 2011.

Two of the widows are from Saudi Arabia, and the third is from Yemen.

They were interrogated by Pakistani intelligence agents and eventually charged last month with illegally entering and living in the country. The three wives and two adult daughters were convicted and sentenced to 45 days in prison. Their prison term, which was spent at a well-guarded house in Islamabad, ended earlier this month.

Soon after midnight Thursday, a van took the women and children from the house in the center of the capital, Islamabad, en route to the airport. Officials covered the vehicle with sheets to prevent photographers from taking their pictures.

A statement from the Interior Ministry said 14 members of the bin Laden family had been deported to the “country of their choice, Saudi Arabia.” Few details have been released about the family, but officials have said bin Laden had three wives, at least eight children and some grandchildren living with him in the house when it was raided by the Americans.

The Pakistani government has denied knowing the terrorist leader’s whereabouts. U.S. officials say they have no evidence senior Pakistani officials knew bin Laden was in Abbottabad, but questions remain. A Pakistani government commission formed to investigate how bin Laden lived in the country and the circumstances of the American raid has yet to publish its report, but it is widely expected to be a whitewash.

Soon after the raid, American investigators were given access to the wives in Pakistani custody, but one Pakistani intelligence officer has said the women refused to answer their questions.

The Yemeni wife, Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al-Sada, told Pakistani police that the al-Qaida chief lived in five houses while on the run in Pakistan for nine years and fathered four children, two of whom were born in Pakistani government hospitals.

Saudi officials have given little information about the family and the plan to deport them. The country stripped bin Laden of his citizenship in 1994 because of his verbal attacks against the Saudi royal family, and there have been questions about whether the country would accept the women.

Pakistani officials were outraged that the U.S. did not tell them about the operation against bin Laden until after it happened _ a decision American officials explained by saying they were worried the information would be leaked. Relations between the two countries plummeted after the raid and have yet to recover.

Besides facing difficult questions about how bin Laden was able to hide in the country for so long, Pakistan’s army faced unusual domestic criticism because it was unable to stop the American raid from taking place, or even detect it while it was under way.

Last November, U.S. airstrikes inadvertently killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border, dealing another blow to ties still strained from the bin Laden raid. Washington, which needs Pakistani cooperation against al-Qaida and in trying to end the Afghan war, is trying to rebuild the relationship.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

The image from video released on Jan. 27, 2023, by the City of Memphis, shows Tyre Nichols on the g...
Associated Press

Memphis authorities release video in Tyre Nichols’ death

Video showing Memphis officers beating a Black man was made public Friday after they were charged with murder in the death of Tyre Nichols.
1 day ago
Demonstrators stage a rally in front of the White House to celebrate President Joe Biden's plan to ...
Kevin Stone

Lawsuits keeping over 300,000 Arizonans from getting student loan relief

Lawsuits are preventing more than 300,000 Arizonans from having some or all of their student debt dismissed, the Biden administration said Friday.
1 day ago
FILE -  A Goodyear tire sits on display at a tire shop on Feb. 12, 2014, in South Euclid, Ohio. A f...
Associated Press

Arizona lawyer subpoenaed in criminal investigation of Goodyear tires

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles is gathering evidence in a criminal investigation of Goodyear recreational vehicle tires.
2 days ago
Following days of rain, floodwaters cover streets in the Planada community of Merced County, Calif....
Associated Press

Atmospheric rivers in California boost water allocation for cities

Public water agencies in California will be getting more water from the state because of recent heavy rain.
2 days ago
(Brian Munoz/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP, File)...
Associated Press

FDA declines to regulate CBD; calls on Congress for fix

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday there are too many unknowns about CBD products to regulate them as foods or supplements under the agency’s current structure and called on Congress to create new rules for the massive and growing market. The marijuana-derived products have become increasingly popular in lotions, tinctures and foods, while their […]
2 days ago
FILE - An employee works in the battery assembly hall at the BMW Spartanburg plant in Greer, S.C., ...
Associated Press

US economy slowed but still grew at 2.9% rate last quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.9% annual pace from October through December, ending 2022 with momentum despite the pressure of high interest rates and widespread fears of a looming recession. Thursday’s estimate from the Commerce Department showed that the nation’s gross domestic product — the broadest gauge of economic output — […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Pakistan deports bin Laden family to Saudi Arabia