Pakistan completes demolition of bin Laden hideout | world | Hindustan Times
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Pakistan completes demolition of bin Laden hideout

world Updated: Feb 27, 2012 12:12 IST
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Pakistani bulldozers on Monday razed to the ground the three-storey home where Osama bin Laden lived for at least five years until he was killed by US special forces last May.

Only the wall of the compound remained intact, surrounding the debris of the house where the al Qaeda leader hid in the garrison town of Abbottabad and a security official confirmed the demolition had been completed.

The house was pulled down two months before the first anniversary of the US Navy SEAL raid that killed the world's most-wanted man on a secret operation that humiliated Pakistan's army and government.

The fact that bin Laden lived so long just two kilometres from the country's premier military academy and in a garrison city exposed the powerful military to charges of complicity or incompetence.

"The demolition has been completed, the three story building was razed to the ground," a security official told AFP.

"We have been ordered to be deployed here until further instructions. The outer wall will remain intact for the moment and we don't know the plan for the future. First we will remove the debris," the official added.

Bulldozers began the demolition work late Saturday in Abbottabad's Bilal Town suburb, where the compound has been under the control of Pakistani security forces since the Americans ended their covert operation on May 2.

The debris from the flattened house was invisible from street level, hidden behind the 18-foot high boundary wall of the compound that housed the al Qaeda leader, his three wives and nine children for years.

But from the rooftops of surrounding houses, bricks, concrete, steel, broken wood, a brown steel gate and two black plastic water tanks could be seen with two bulldozers parked near the heap of rubble.

"We found nothing in the building. Everything had already been taken away by the investigation experts," the security official told AFP.

The compound has been closely guarded by Pakistani security officials since the May 2 operation. Foreign journalists in particular have been heavily restricted from visiting the site and local journalists from coming too close.

Officials say they were reluctant for the building to become a shrine to Islamist militants and their sympathisers in a country where attacks blamed on the Taliban and al Qaeda have killed thousands of people in recent years.

The Americans buried bin Laden's body at sea, determined there be no grave that could act as a memorial to the mastermind of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

Pakistani-US ties drastically deteriorated over the raid and relations fell to their lowest ebb over US air strikes in November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at a post near the Afghan border.