Washington, May 4: High-strength marijuana plants have been found just yards from the mansion of slain al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden who was killed by US commandos deep inside Pakistan on Sunday.
CNN reported from close to the 9/11 mastermind's mansion in the military garrison town of Abbottabad today that the marijuana plants were growing alongside other crops including cabbages and potatoes.
Despite being a short walk from a military training academy dubbed ‘Pakistan's Sandhurst'--800 yards away—the illegal crop had remained undiscovered, it said.
Hundreds of marijuana plants appear to have flourished for a number of years on the border of bin Laden's compound, about 80 km from Islamabad, where he is reported to have holed up for over six years.
Western reporters who flocked to the spot noticed the pungent line of plants growing in the dry fields surrounding the five-metre high concrete walls.
Media reports said bin Laden had in recent years suffered from kidney problems which may have been eased by taking marijuana for its medicinal properties.
The searing heat in the north-western region of Pakistan would provide ideal conditions for the plant to grow.
Millions of dollars are made each year from drug trafficking in Pakistan—though opium is more popular than cannabis.
More details about bin Laden's lifestyle came from local residents who spoke of their experience of living next to the world's most wanted terrorist.
Another media report said that according to a nearby shopkeeper two young men who lived inside the compound with bin Laden made regular trips for bulk food orders.
The grocery basket included extensive supplies of Pepsi and Coke—U.S. brands that have become the face of western commercialism that bin Laden claimed to despise, it said.
The two young men called themselves Akbar and Rashid Khan and did the daily shopping in the Pashtu-language accents of Waziristan, a region on the Afghan border.
Grocer Anjum Qaisar, 27, who works 150 metres from the compound, said: “Bin Laden's men never came by foot, they always drove a Pajero or a little Suzuki van, and they bought enough food for ten people.”
Qaisar said that he did not know who lived inside the building.
“I was curious about why they bought so much food, but I did not want to be rude by asking,” he said. PTI