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Osama Bin Laden Left the Tribal Lands in 2003

All those drones we’ve been dropping on the tribal lands of Pakistan?

Well, they must have come close to hitting OBL once before–because a drone in Waziristan apparently killed one of OBL’s daughters.

Amongst those left behind by the evacuating Navy Seals were Osama’s three wives, two of them highly educated Saudis, his elder son and four children of a daughter who was killed in a drone strike in Waziristan, the officials said.

They also included Osama’s Abbottabad-born five-year-old son and 22-year-old daughter, the officials added.

But according to this story–relying on the account of the youngest of the three wives reported to have been arrested from the compound in Abbottabad, Amal–OBL moved out of the tribal lands some time in 2003.

Amal, according to officials familiar with [Pakistani] investigations, said that before moving to his sprawling compound in Bilal Town, Abbottabad, towards the end of 2005, Osama bin Laden had lived with his family in Chak Shah Mohammad Khan, a village in the nearby district of Haripur, for nearly two and a half years.

Chak Shah Mohammad, situated on the highway to Abbottabad, is two kilometres to the southeast of Haripur town.

In retrospect that meant, one of the officials observed, Osama had left the country’s tribal region sometime in 2003 to live in a settled area.

Granted, given these Reuters pictures, he appears to have lived in a cave-like dwelling. But he appears to have left the tribal lands back in 2003, around the time Khalid Sheikh Mohammed got captured and Abu Faraj al-Libi moved to Abbottabad for a year.

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Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.