News / Asia

Security Crackdown in Abbottabad Follows US Raid

Pakistani journalists roam around in a vicinity of the house of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden which has been made an exclusion zone for the general people in Abbottabad, May 7, 2011
Pakistani journalists roam around in a vicinity of the house of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden which has been made an exclusion zone for the general people in Abbottabad, May 7, 2011

Following the U.S. commando raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden earlier this week in Abbottabad, Pakistan officials have begun a security crackdown there.

Police and military units are blocking off streets, setting up ID checkpoints and making arrests in Abbottabad, the city where Osama bin Laden and his family were hiding in a walled compound apparently built for maximum privacy.

Police there are going door-to-door in neighborhoods to confirm the identities of city residents, in an apparent attempt to find any elements of bin Laden's support network that might exist.  

Before the covert U.S. raid which killed Bin Laden, Abbottabad was considered one of the safest cities in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, where there have been numerous militant attacks.  The city is a garrison town, home to the country's military academy and a favored destination for military retirees.  

Now, however, some residents fear the night-time raid that killed bin Laden could bring more violence to the town.  A man, who gave his name as Tariq, says he and his family no longer feel safe.  

Tariq says they are very scared, especially at night.  He says he fears there could be another attack.

Other Abbottabad residents, who are not used this type of heavy security are unhappy. A university student, who gave his name as Saif, says the checkpoints cause problems.   

"We are facing a an awful lot of problems but the most one is that the security checks," he said. "I think it is for the betterment of course but the rest, you know, the movement is very hard these days. The checkpoints, the ID cards, etcetera whether you live in that particular area or not."

Journalists in the town report they are not being allowed to approach the compound.  Several have been warned that they may soon be expelled from the town entirely.

Meanwhile, Pakistani authorities say that for the moment it is too early to say what will happen to the property where bin Laden was killed.

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