Abbottabad, May 4: A doctor who sold a piece of the land where Osama bin Laden's final hideout was built said the buyer, a Pakistani who apparently sheltered the al-Qaida chief, was a ”modest, humble” man who did not seem to be a militant.
As Pakistan sought to counter suspicions it had been harboring bin Laden, details emerged Wednesday about the small group of men who looked after the al-Qaida chief in this northwestern town before he was killed by U.S. commandos.
Chief among them was a man known as Arshad Khan, who neighbors said was one of two Pakistani men living in the house. Property records obtained by The Associated Press show Mohammad Arshad bought adjoining plots in four stages between 2004 and 2005 for $48,000. The two appear to be the same person, and the names may be fake.
The doctor, Qazi Mahfooz Ul Haq, said he sold a plot of land to Arshad in 2005. He said the buyer was a sturdily built man who had a tuft of hair under his lower lip. He spoke with an accent that sounded like it was from Waziristan, a tribal region close to Afghanistan that is home to many al-Qaida operatives.
”He was a very simple, modest, humble type of man” who was ”very interested” in buying the land, the doctor said.
Arshad may have been one of the five people killed in the raid including bin Laden and one of his sons. US officials have said bin Laden's most trusted courier, and the courier's wife and brother also died.
The courier, who eventually led the US to bin Laden, was so important to al-Qaida that he was tapped by Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to shepherd the man who was to have been the 20th hijacker through computer training needed for the attack, according to newly released documents from Guantanamo Bay interrogations.
The courier allegedly trained Maad al-Qahtani at an internet cafe in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi in July 2001 so that he could communicate by email with Mohammed Atta, the Sept. 11 financier and one of the 19 hijackers, who was already in the United States.
But al-Qahtani proved to be a poor student and was ultimately denied entry to the US when he raised suspicion among immigration officials.
The Guantanamo documents also revealed that the courier might have been one of the men who accompanied bin Laden to Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan in December 2001 just weeks before the Taliban's final surrender. AP