Osama’s courier was Arshad Khan to neighbours: NYT

May 8th, 2011 - 3:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 8 (IANS) The confidential courier who unknowingly led the Americans to Osama bin Laden introduced himself to his Pakistani neighbours in Abbottabad as Arshad Khan.

The courier, who also went by the name of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, was tailed for months by the Americans desperate to know the whereabouts of the elusive Al Qaeda chief.

According to the New York Times, the only other male member of the Osama hideout who emerged from the compound was the courier’s brother who was known as Tariq Khan.

Sometimes the wives of the two Khans were also seen.

It was by quietly pursuing al-Kuwaiti alias Arshad Khan that the American intelligence traced Osama’s secret mansion in Abbottabad city.

The Khans seemed pleasant enough but they kept to themselves behind the 12-foot concrete walls and barbed wire of the house, the Times quoted neighbours as saying.

The Khans never invited anyone in or visited people but they did go to the mosque for prayers and attended funerals in the neighbourhood.

Once in a while, their wives left the compound with their husbands in a car, covered in black burqas.

The children rarely played outside. When boys playing in the fields outside the house kicked a ball into the compound by mistake, the Khans kept the ball and gave them Rs.50, the Times said.

CIA agents keeping a watch on the house often saw a tall man pacing up and down the compound. It was Osama, but he never left the house.

The Khan brothers, both in their 30s, had two cars, a red Suzuki van and a white Suzuki jeep.

They had apparently paid double the daily wage to labourers who worked on the house when it was being built in 2004.

They gave varied explanations to their neighbours about their source of wealth.

Once they said they owned a hotel in Dubai and another time they said they were money changers. The brothers were Pashtuns from Charsadda, in Pakistan’s northwest frontier.

“They never told us why they came here,” said Naheed Abassi, 21, a driver and farm labourer who said he had worked on construction of the house.

The courier and his brother were both killed in the operation in the house May 2 by the US Navy SEALS.

They were sons of a man Osama had known for decades.

One of Osama’s sons, Khalid, who lived in the house and was also killed in the raid, was married to a sister of the Khans, Pakistani officials said.

The trusted Pakistani courier and his brother also had the job of buying goats, sheep and Coca-Cola for the household.

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