Residents of the couriers' hometown report being intimidated by intelligence agencies, which are under the spotlight today after a prominent Pakistani journalist was found dead.
Cristiano Camera/Courtesy of Adnkronos/AP
Osama bin Laden’s couriers, Arshad and Tariq Khan – who were killed alongside him during the raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan – were born and raised in Kuwait after their Pakistani father settled there to become an imam, according to relatives and other residents in their ancestral village.
The residents’ accounts, confirmed by a Pakistan security official, suggest the couriers may have become radicalized in Kuwait. Meanwhile, the residents also report being intimidated by intelligence agencies, which are under the spotlight today after a prominent Pakistani journalist has been found dead.
Pakistan’s intelligence agencies swooped in to detain cousins and other close relatives of the couriers from Kotkai, a village in Pakistan’s mountainous Shangla district last week – weeks after Mr. bin Laden’s death on May 2. A similar raid in the city of Lahore picked up a handful of relatives.
Residents in Kotkai say they were warned not to speak to the media about the people who were taken away, and many remain shaken by the events.
“We were visited by security officials last week and we were told we shouldn’t speak to the media," says a school teacher who asked that his name be withheld for fear of reprisal. "People here are very afraid that they could be picked up next.”