The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

April 27, 2012

Pakistan deports bin Laden family to Saudi Arabia

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani authorities deported Osama bin Laden’s three widows and his children to Saudi Arabia early Friday, less than a week before the first anniversary of the unilateral American raid that killed the al-Qaida leader in his hideout in a military town.

The departure of the family closed another chapter in an affair that cemented Pakistan’s reputation as a hub of Islamist extremism and cast doubt on its trustworthiness as a Western ally.

Once outside Pakistan, the wives may be willing to share any information they have about how bin Laden managed to evade capture in the country for nearly a decade following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States.

The U.S. commandos took bin Laden’s body, which they later buried at sea, but left his family behind. His wives and children were detained by Pakistani authorities immediately after the pre-dawn raid on May 2, 2011.

Two of the widows are from Saudi Arabia, and the third is from Yemen.

They were interrogated by Pakistani intelligence agents and eventually charged last month with illegally entering and living in the country. The three wives and two adult daughters were convicted and sentenced to 45 days in prison. Their prison term, which was spent at a well-guarded house in Islamabad, ended earlier this month.

Soon after midnight Thursday, a van took the women and children from the house in the center of the capital, Islamabad, en route to the airport. Officials covered the vehicle with sheets to prevent photographers from taking their pictures.

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