The real housewives of Osama bin Laden

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Would it surprise anyone to know that a man with as many as four wives would have some marital problems? According to a retired Pakistani army officer, Osama bin Laden spent his final days stuck in a house with two feuding wives, and with family who were suspicious that the older of those two wives would betrayhim to the authorities.

Brigadier Shaukat Qadir, a retired Pakistani army officer, based his report on interviews with bin Laden’s wives and others who lived in the compound, according to ABC News. Qadir says suspicions arose when the older wife, Khairiah Sabar, showed up in Pakistan after having lived in Iran since 2001. She is described in the account as being a “feisty woman who even frightened the Pakistani intelligence officials who interrogated her.”

“She is so aggressive that she borders on being intimidating,” one Pakistani official told Qadir.

Sabar is believed to be seven years bin Laden’s senior and was held under house arrest in Iran until 2010. She appeared at the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in March 2011, took up residence in the room below where bin Laden and his favorite wife,  Amal Ahmed Abdul Fatah, were staying.

Shortly after her arrival, she began feuding with Fatah and other members of the household. According to Qadir, who was given access to Fatah’s interrogation by Pakistani intelligence, Khalid bin Laden, the son of bin Laden and a third wife living in the compound, asked Ms. Sabar why she’d come to Abbottabad after so many years.

Her response: “I have one final duty to perform for my husband.” Upon hearing this, Khalid rushed to tell his father that Sabar planned to betray him.

In an interrogation by the Pakistanis, Fatah accused her rival, Sabar, of betraying bin Laden to American intelligence.

According to Pakistani tribal leaders, bin Laden had kept Fatah, his favorite wife, near to him in the years since Sept. 11, 2001, and that she had also helped set up protection for bin Laden. She remained at his side even as the U.S. Navy SEALS raided the compound, and rushed at the SEALs unarmed, attempting to defend her husband, according to U.S. officials. Khalid, bin Laden’s son, died in the raid as well.

Bin Laden’s three wives who were living in the compound at the time are currently being held under house arrest by Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency in a “comfortable five-bedroom house” in the capitol, according to the New York Times. They have been charged with illegally entering the country, but there has been no mention by the Pakistani government when their hearing took place or when their trial would commence.

The New York Times also reports that bin Laden’s wives told Pakistani prosecutors that bin Laden had been in Abbottabad since 2005, after shaving his beard and disguising himself as an ailing Pashtun and moving from safe house to safe house across northwestern Pakistan.

However, Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, says the government had not known of bin Laden’s presence in the town of Abbottabad, which also is home to a Pakistani military academy.

The three-story compound in Abbottabad, shared by bin Laden, his three wives, eight of his children and five grandchildren, was demolished last month after Pakistani intelligence expressed concerns that the building could become a shrine for al-Qaida supporters.

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