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Mystery shrouds the quiet man who built Bin Laden's compound

Known in Abbottabad, Pakistan, as Arshad Khan, neighbors say he lived in the fortress-like residence with a man believed to be his brother and their families. But little else is known, including whether he was the courier whose trail eventually led to Osama bin Laden.

May 06, 2011|By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times

Shekoh said he believed Khan had two children, ages 3 and 4. He called Khan "a good guy," who on one occasion helped him fix his car. He said he never asked about who else lived in the compound because "they minded their own business."

"No neighbors ever went inside. They wouldn't let anyone inside," he said.

On Thursday, the compound was a magnet for curious Abbottabad residents overwhelmed by the idea that Bin Laden had been in their midst for so long.

An old man pushed a rickety wooden cart up near the compound's large green gate and began selling slices of watermelon to throngs of reporters and Pakistanis mingling outside in the hot sun. Parents with toddlers in tow strolled up to the gate to pose for snapshots.

Seated in his living room, Shekoh contemplated the side of Khan he never knew — the man who sheltered Bin Laden.

"If he did such things," Shekoh said, "then America did a great job in killing him."

alex.rodriguez@latimes.com

Special correspondent Zulfiqar Ali in Peshawar, Pakistan, contributed to this report.

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