Pakistan begins demolishing bin Laden compound

February 25, 2012 by staff 

Pakistan begins demolishing bin Laden compound, Pakistan on Saturday began demolishing the three-story compound where Osama bin Laden lived for years and was killed by U.S. commandos last May, eliminating a concrete reminder of the painful and embarrassing chapter in the country’s history.

Pakistan was outraged by the covert American raid because it was not told about it beforehand. The country’s powerful military faced rare domestic criticism because it was not able to stop U.S. troops from infiltrating the country by helicopter from Afghanistan under the cover of darkness. The compound was located next to Pakistan’s equivalent of West Point, the elite U.S. military academy.

Three mechanized backhoes began demolishing the compound in the northwest town of Abbottabad after sunset on Saturday, said two local residents, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were afraid of being harassed by the government.

Authorities set up floodlights so they could work after dark, the residents said.

The demolition team conducted its work under heavy security. A large team of police set up an outer cordon around the compound to keep spectators away, said an Associated Press reporter who managed to get close enough to see the demolition work under way. A ring of army soldiers set up an inner cordon and warmed themselves against the winter chill by lighting a bonfire.

The backhoes broke through tall outer boundary walls that ringed a courtyard where one of the U.S. helicopters crashed during the operation to kill the al-Qaida chief. They then began to tear down the compound itself.

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