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'Bin Laden did not lead bad life'

books Updated: Apr 28, 2012 08:39 IST
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Former Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden did not lead a bad life taking into account that he was the world’s most wanted fugitive, according to a new book by bin Laden expert Peter Bergen.

“For the world’s most wanted fugitive. It was not a bad life,” The Washington Post quoted Bergen, as saying.

The book, “Manhunt. The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad,” is scheduled for publication on May 1, which marks the first anniversary of bin Laden’s death.

But excerpts of the book have already been published online by the Time magazine.

The book pointed out that Bin Laden’s large house, housing separate living quarters, including kitchens and baths for two wives, was sparsely furnished and surrounded by high walls.

He lived on the third floor with his youngest wife, Amal, 29, who had given birth to the last of their two children in Pakistani hospitals.

The house had no air conditioning and “only a few rudimentary gas heaters,” despite the temperature extremes of the area.

"Beds for the various family members were made from simple planks of plywood. It was as if the compound’s inhabitants were living at a makeshift but long-term campsite,” Bergen wrote in his book.

Bin Laden had become an almost mythical figure for those who were hunting him, Bergen has claimed.

Bergen presents a persuasive case that the opportunity to capture or kill bin Laden before his escape from his Tora Bora hide-out in the Afghan mountains was lost when U.S. military leaders and the Bush administration failed to approve requests from military and CIA operatives on the ground for reinforcements.