Questions about Usama that have no answers so far

By Muhammad Abd al-Hameed  

The media have not raised so far several important questions about Usama bin Ladin, nor have Americans provided any evidence to give answers.

Let us take them up.

Did the American helicopters really come from Afghanistan?

Not at all. If they did, they would have been exposed within minutes. It never occurred to the great investigative minds in the media, here and abroad, that another radar system is also in place that covers every square kilometer of the country and never sleeps. (Air Force radars are fully active only when a war starts or a war-like situation arises. When Indians intended to raid Hafiz Saeed’s complex near Muridke in the aftermath of the Bombay attacks, they had to change their mind when they found that our planes were ready to hit back the moment Indians crossed the border.)

The air control system of civil aviation monitors all aircraft. Any plane or helicopter entering our territory has to submit its flight plan to get permission. Any intruder, such as a hijacked plane, is reported and air force jets scramble immediately. If American helicopters tried to go ahead without permission, our fighter planes would have forced them down to ground or back to their Bagram base.

The claim that the helicopters were not visible to radars is false. Even if the two HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters were supposedly invisible Stealth type, what about the two CH-47 Chinooks that are always very much visible? (They helped in relief work after the earthquake in Azad Kashmir.)

The helicopters actually flew from the NATO base near Tarbela. From there, the distance to Abbottabad was less than 10 kms, only a few minutes away. After returning from Abbottabad, the helicopters flew to Bagram, as normal flights from NATO base to Bagram.

Najam Sethi, of Geo, reported the same night that helicopters flew from Tarbela. (If he cannot get facts from the Americans, nobody else can.) Sethi contradicted himself the next night, not because he was wrong but presumably, because the admission would have led to a shrill demand that NATO must be asked to leave Tarbela.)

Did the helicopters remain unnoticed during the operation?

No. It was just not possible. There were four helicopters, one pair for operation and another for backup. Their rotors were running all the time during the 40-minute operation. They made a lot of noise, even the Stealth type. Their lights were also shining in the moonless, pitch-dark night. The neighbors did notice them. So did the authorities, who are reported to have placed a security cordon immediately around the Usama house and asked people to stay away.

Could the U.S. stop the destruction of its helicopters by our air farce?

It is difficult to believe Obama’s claim that he had given “instructions to engage” PAF fighters, if attacked. It just seems to be an afterthought to shore up people’s morale.

Usually two fighter planes scramble to engage intruders. Suppose our planes engaged the helicopters when they were close to Abbottabad and destroyed them. What could the 20 aircraft, including F-18 Hornets, supposed to be flying in Afghan space, do to stop our fighter planes? Even if they were able to destroy the two PAF fighters, the mission against Usama would have failed and Pakistan would have found it impossible to cooperate further with the U.S. in Afghanistan. The cost would have been too high for the U.S.

Were the U.S. helicopters really invisible to our radars?

If U.S. claims that its planes were ready in Afghanistan to engage our fighters, it proves that the helicopters were not invisible to radars and thus were vulnerable to attack.

In any case, American helicopters were not very invisible. According to Aviation Week, an authoritative publication on such matters,”… it is believed that a helicopter cannot yet be made as radar-stealthy as a fixed-wing airplane, as helicopters generally operate at low altitude and against ground clutter.” (See

Moreover, the claims of defense contractors (in this case of helicopter makers) are not always accurate. The manufacturer of Patriot missiles made a lot of propaganda about their effectiveness during the first invasion of Iraq in 1990. The reality later turned out to be quite different.

Meanwhile, is it not ironical that the country that could build a $60-million Stealth helicopter, did not find a pilot to operate it properly?

How long did Usama stay in Abbottabad?

There is no proof, no evidence whatsoever that the stay was for six years. The house was built six years ago but that does not mean Usama was the only occupant since then. Amal, Usama’s third wife, is reported to have said that the family lived there all those six years. CIA does not have even common sense, not to speak of intelligence, if it believes that she was telling the truth. (Incidentally, to cover the earlier period, she also said that the family stayed for over 2½ years in a village near Haripur, when no villager saw any stranger living there during that period.)

CIA has no idea how shrewd women are in this part of the world. A police party raided the home of a wanted criminal in a remote village. To get him time to escape, his wife took off her clothes, sat under a hand pump in the courtyard and shouted, “Don’t enter the door. I am taking a bath.” By the time her “bath” was over, the husband had run away from the back of the house.

If Usama’s wife had said that the family had been there only for a few months, there would have been incessant questions about all of earlier stays. Giving the details of all previous stays truthfully would have exposed al-Qaida supporters all the way. Does it make sense that she would betray her husband’s faithful followers?

It is also inconceivable that Usama could depend entirely on a single courier to run his organization for so many years. Suppose he was killed in an accident, was abducted or was arrested for some reason. How could Usama find someone to replace him? Advertise in newspapers? (Incidentally, CIA now recruits agents through newspaper advertisements.)

CIA is quite dumb to insist that Usama stayed so long in Abbottabad without providing any supporting evidence. Blaming us for his “long stay” is sheer bullying.

Was it not possible for Usama to have Internet and mobile phone?

Singapore Computer Bureau prepared a database for motor vehicles about 20 years ago. The bureau head explained proudly to a visitor that the entire data was now available to investigate theft and other crimes. “How do you access the data?” the visitor asked. “By entering the license plate number,” he replied. “What if the plate had a fake number?” The head was speechless. It had never occurred to him that fake plates were quite common and data should be accessible also by entering chassis number, engine number, etc.

CIA experts are no better. If somebody bought a laptop, got a wireless Internet connection and, after passing through several hands, the computer ended up with Usama, how could they find out the ultimate user? Similarly, somebody in a faraway place could buy mobile SIMs, which are dime a dozen, activate them and pass on to Usama. Usama could use a SIM just once and then destroy it. How could CIA locate him?

The story about Usama’s courier having been traced through a mobile phone does not make sense. He could not be stupid enough to use a SIM more than once and that too in Abbottabad.

Even if Arabic phone calls were recorded, CIA could not have made much use of them. The U.S. agencies already have phone call recordings of hundreds of thousands of hours in the languages of our region, waiting to be transcribed (to be done only by U.S. citizens for security reasons). By the time, their transcription is completed, all al-Qaida agents would have died natural death.

It is also astonishing that Americans could not locate a satellite dish receiver in the Usama house that was getting Arabic channels most of the time. There could not be many such dishes in Abbottabad, or even the entire country. When the U.S. National Security Agency claims to tap even a landline phone anywhere in the world, what was so difficult in following a digital signal from a satellite to a receiver? Even the satellite with most Arabic channels, Arabsat, was quite well-known.

Was Usama really killed in Abbottabad?

It was quite possible to immobilize Usama with a stun gun or something else, arrest him and take him away. It may well have happened, at least for some time, though he would have to be killed quite soon, as nothing remains secret in the U.S. for long.. (Iranian President says that Usama was alive “for some time.”) Americans certainly needed Usama to know all about his organization and plans. (That was why they left his wives and children behind, who were the next best source of information.)

So far, the U.S. has not provided incontrovertible evidence to prove his death. It was not difficult to get a lookalike, kill him and disfigure his face to make it difficult to identify him clearly.

Secrecy leads to doubts and suspicions. Questions about the final hour of Usama will always remain there. The live video feed from the Abbottabad operation to CIA headquarters and then to the White House could also be given to CNN for the whole world to watch. There would have been still many ifs and buts but most people would have been satisfied about the authenticity of the operation.

There is, however, no doubt that Usama was very much there with his family because it is inconceivable that he would leave them unprotected, without his own reliable guards being present. He would have allowed his wives and children to go to his home country if he believed they were not safe with him. Most probably, he believed he would be soon on his way to Yemen along with his family (as I suggested in my previous article, “Usama’s plan that went awry”.

 The writer is Author, “Ghurbat kaise mit sakti hai” (Classic, Lahore).
This is a cross post from
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  • Ayesha Khan  On May 25, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Valid questions and just goes to show one cannot take anything on face value these days. Moreover, these are times of every government lying to their taxpayers and the US is no exception

    As regards Osama,that chap was not Osama. When one plans a drama on such a scale then hiring six wives is not an issue. He’s been dead since 2003.

    Only FOX News will believe the true lies of the US Admin! No one else buys these stories but what is real is the trouble the forces are in and the fact that we are at War but this time with a superpower; just like Afghanistan was when USSR invaded them to liberate them!

  • TMH  On May 25, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Dear Hameed Bhai,
    It is now fully established that UBL was dead long before this drama in Abbottabad.
    This drama was played to implicate Pakistan Defence Est, in such a manner that
    Pakistan no explanation to offer, the American had Pakistan where they wanted
    them to be, to look guilty as hell. Pakistan look to the world either inefficient or
    guilty as charged of complicity of hiding the (dead body) UBL, this American know
    is not right, but their target ISI and Army were proven to be inefficient, and not
    cabable of safe guarding its nuclear assessts.
    Game is not yet over, second part is already played at Karachi,and the tone
    of Nato is slowly changing. We will what happens after the visit of
    Ms. Hillery Clinton.


  • Hasan Muizudin  On May 25, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Thanks for this piece of mature writing.
    Please add one question from me also and oblige.
    It is contested that Usama lived there. How do three women admit to be his widows and the 11 children who claim Usama as their father.
    Our very alert Media may have lapsed on their mission if they failed to show the widows and orphans on the screen and not chased them about their present whereabouts.
    kind regards

  • Portugheis Alberto  On May 25, 2011 at 11:18 am


    I understand Muhammad Abd al-Hameed ‘s questions and the analysis of them as well as of the possible answers. I must say however, that personally, I could not be asking those questions. He says what he thinks and gives the impression he believes everybody is like him. This may be true for all of us and the vast majority of human beings, but it is not true for politicians, especially for Presidents, Prime Ministers and anybody in a strong political or military position.

    To say “Obama said this”, “Obama claimed that” does not lead very far. Equally, when Mr al Hameed refers to the Indian airplanes that intended to enter Pakistani territory. Does he really think Indian militaries didn’t know about the Paki Air-Force radar (such good business, at 40 million USA dollars a piece!) and about Paki planes ready to hit back?.

    The Military play military games when they want to play them. When they decide not to play a game, it is often for reasons totally unrelated to military strategies. A military or politician in a position of power may decide to cancel a military confrontation (“game” for me), because he remembers in two months’ time his daughter is to get married. He doesn’t want to miss the wedding, he doesn’t want his daughter to become an orphan or leave his future grandchildren without a grandfather.

    Of course, the man in question could never reveal his intimate thoughts or feelings, so he has no option but to invent “professional” reasons to justify his actions and decisions.

    Two very famous British politicians, Winston Churchill and Harold MacMillan, or the arch-famous Adolf Hitler, would have acted very differently in their lives had it not been for the influence of their personal/private circumstances.

  • John Bose  On May 25, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    There is no doubt that osmaa bin laden has been killed by the American, Osama wife and alqida leaders have confirmed it , I fully understand Pakistani news media and other Pakistani are using a defence Mechanism called DENIED where person use this mechanism to keep his or her pride alive so in the other hand Pakistani people and Pakistani Government should look in to their own acts in Pakistan there is no rights for Non Muslims how about Assia BIBI who is in Jail for no reason why there are no non muslims in the Pakistani government oh high posts in government why there is no non Muslims players in any of the National teams we should slams all the religious parties in Pakistan and all the muhllahs should be sustain from any politics activities and stop them to declare Jehad or Fatwa,
    Learn from the India how much progressed they did and for your kind attentions people from all the reigions are ion India govrernments, for an example 2 muslims presidents of india, now a Christian is head of the Indian Airforce defense minister of Indian government a Sikh is a prime minister of India now compares to Pakistan name me any of the non muslims holding a Job on sensitive rank, thanks John

  • Rizwan  On May 27, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Well written..There was no stealth tech involved in this raid. Troop carrier helos cannot be equipped that way.

  • Number plate makers  On May 31, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Why does many people question the Death of Usama?

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