A few months ago, Sohail hosted Umar Patek, the presumed mastermind behind the bomb attacks in Bali nine years ago — a man who has a $1 million (€700,000) bounty on his head. On Jan. 25, 2011, Pakistani police arrested the Indonesian in Sohail’s villa. The insurance director’s home is still pockmarked with bullet holes from the raid.
Today, Sohail says that his son brought the freezing, hungry foreigner and his wife to the villa in mid-January. He describes his strange guest as someone who understood neither Urdu nor English, but who was undoubtedly in need of Muslim charity. How, he implores, was he supposed to know that he had handed his guest apartment over to the deputy commander of the southeast Asian arm of al-Qaida and that its chief, Osama bin Laden, had already found a hideout only three kilometers (1.9 miles) away?…
There is little evidence that all of the trails leading to Abbottabad had been followed. Including the path leading to one of the world’s most-sought-after men: Abu Faraj al-Libbi, the successor to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the planner behind the 9/11 attacks. According to Guantanamo files recently released by WikiLeaks, Al-Libbi told interrogators in Guantanamo that he had been appointed bin Laden’s “official messenger” in July 2003, that he had sent his family “to Abbottabad” and that he had lived there himself until 2004.
Was al-Libbi an advance guard for bin Laden? In 2006, Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s president at the time, acknowledged that al-Libbi had used three houses in Abbottabad as a base. No one, it would seem, followed up on the lead at the time — not even the ISI.