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Osama bin Laden dead: Abbottabad, Pakistan, more getaway than hideaway

May 02, 2011|By Jason La | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
  • Pakistan army soldiers stand guard near the Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound that housed Osama bin Laden.
Pakistan army soldiers stand guard near the Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound… (Anjum Naveed / Associated…)

For years, U.S. intelligence officials speculated that Osama bin Laden was hiding out in the nether regions of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. You might imagine remote caves, badlands and jagged rocks. But Abbottabad, in northern Pakistan, where a U.S. special forces team killed Bin Laden early Monday, is more getaway town and less rugged hideout.

Situated at an elevation of about 4,100 feet, Abbottabad is a popular summer destination in Pakistan. The town, north of Islamabad and east of Peshawar, experiences cool summers, a major plus in a country where temperatures in some areas routinely exceed 100 degrees in the summer.

YouTube video: Driving through Abbottabad

Climb Shima or Shimla peak, two nearby hills, and you get access to panoramic views of the town, near several popular points of interest. Close by is Shimla Park and its pine forest. The town affords access to Kaghan Valley, a scenic destination with waterfalls, lakes and glaciers. The ancient city of Taxila, with its Muslim and Buddhist temples, lies about 40 miles southwest. Taxila is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Asia's most important archaeological sites.

Abbottabad was founded in 1853 and was named for Major James Abbott, the first British deputy commissioner of the region. It is also home to the country's most renowned training center for officers, plus parks, an airport, golf course and hockey stadium.

Google Maps updated with location of Osama bin Laden's compound:

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