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Architecture on the lam: The compound where Osama bin Laden was killed

May 2, 2011 | 12:03 pm

A flurry of attention is already being focused on the architectural details of the compound in northern Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was shot and killed by U.S. forces. The sizable collection of buildings in the city of Abbottabad, hidden behind a series of walls as high as 18 feet, is sure to join Saddam Hussein's last known address among the most notorious examples of hideout architecture in recent memory.

For a terrorist often pictured carrying a walking stick and navigating a steep hillside in the remote mountains between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the compound where Bin Laden was killed seemed surprisingly permanent -- and surprisingly urban. Bin Laden reportedly had been living for several years with his family on the second and third floors of the compound's main building.

Among the most fascinating details to emerge about the operation so far: that U.S. government officials constructed one or more models of the compound in advance of the raid. As Times reporter Ken Dilanian notes, "Mock-ups had been constructed and rehearsals of the raid held while senior officials watched."

Plans and photographs of the compound, which has already been located on Google maps, are here.

-- Christopher Hawthorne

Photo: Pakistani soldiers stand guard atop a building at the hideout of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a ground operation in Abbottabad. Credit: Aamir Qureshi / AFP/Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (10)

Assuming it really was bin Laden, (which I seriously doubt), this shows a repeating trend of how ex-CIA/MI6 employees get treated after they usefulness is finished. Ex-Crony Sadam Hussein and his thug sons suffered the same fate after they started 2 wars on behalf of CIA/Mi6 - and they didnt even let his court trials finish before killing him. Manual Noriega and countless other CIA/MI6 cronies come to mind.

A thought crossed my mind last night, watching the President’s speech, and for all of one second it stopped me cold. “Is there going to be even more retaliation over this?” This country still has enemies, and no matter how many precautions we take, we can still be taken by surprise, one way or another. That’s the nature of surprise, and that’s just how it is. An eye for an eye for an eye.


yeh buddy

that is great that we finally got him......i hope the soldiers out there come home soon.....some of the soldiers just came home in nh....a kid i knew since he was a baby went out there....just glad he is safe....but as for the ones who never made it god bless them for going out there in the first place on our behalf.

bin laden deserved wat he got. he got killed because of wat he did on nine eleven

Anger in the Arab world is subdued by the news of the death of Osama and the son of Gadhafi. Highjacking of the Black Stone At Mecca and transporting it to the Smithsonian Museum would cause the mother of all camel charges. Lets pray it remains where it is.

The military's comment that the "burial at sea" and the "24 hour time limit" is part of Islamic requirements is a sad joke. PressTV.com says THERE IS NO SUCH REQUIREMENT! They killed the wrong guy! hahahahhaahha

I can't believe you wrote this thoroughly empty piece, cashing in on the headline. Why don't you do some research and investigate how, for example, UC contracts for architectural matters are awarded, decided? Or how land deals between the Getty and Eli Broad took place? Or , or, or...?

Say what you will about Osama bin Laden, at least he got that bloody Royal Wedding off Page One.

$1 million doesn't seem to buy as much nowadays.


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