An early interview with Osama bin Laden's youngest wife revealed what life was like on the run with the world's most wanted terrorist.
Amal Ahmed Abdul Fatah - thought to be Bin Laden's fifth and final wife -- took a bullet in her calf when she rushed toward Navy SEAL commandos as they entered bin Laden's bedroom in the early hours of Monday, May 2nd.
In interviews with Pakistani interrogators, Amal said she and bin Laden never left the upper two floors of the house in 5 years.
Amal married bin Laden when she was 19-years-old. Bin Laden's other four wives were much older than her, as were some of his sons. Bin Laden's first wife, Saada, was said to be furious that bin Laden, the son of a billionaire, was living in caves. She may have encouraged his other three wives to rebel at their living conditions as well.
So bin Laden sent his most trusted aide to Yemen to find him a new wife. Osama's only requirements were that she be "religious, generous, well-brought up, quiet, calm and young enough not to feel jealous of his other wives".
Bin Laden showered Amal and her family with $5,000 worth of clothes and jewelry. Amal's family was thrilled that the Al Qaeda chief wanted to marry Amal. The wedding ceremony took place before 9/11 and bin Laden was already on the U.S. Most Wanted list for other terrorist acts.
According to TIME magazine, Amal, who has been described as 24, 27 or 29 in media reports, gave an interview to a women's Saudi magazine in 2002. In the interview she described uprooting her life and moving to a "mountainous area" when the U.S. started bombing Afghanistan after 9/11.
According to British tabloid The Daily Mail, she said:
'When the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan started, we moved to a mountainous area with some children and lived in one of the caves for two months until one of his sons came with a group of tribesmen and took us with them."
Amal and the children were handed over to Pakistani authorities who then assisted her in returning to Yemen.
"I did not know that we were going to Pakistan until they handed us over to the Pakistani government," she said.
When asked if she would one day see bin Laden again, she responded "Let us see what happens." At the time, the CIA was well aware of her existence, and questions abound as to why they didn't keep a closer eye on her in the years following 9/11.
At some point, around 2005, Amal and bin Laden reunited, and together with two of his wives and eight of his 20 children, they moved into the compound near Islamabad, Pakistan.
Exclusive video footage aired on Al Jazeera television yesterday revealed the squalid, rancid conditions in which bin Laden and his family lived inside the walled compound that was described by U.S. officials as a $1 million mansion. Pakistani real estate brokers say the compound was not worth more than $250,000.
Bin Laden was so image conscious that he sat on the dirty floor for hours changing channels on the satellite TV looking for news coverage of himself.
Shaky video shows garbage strewn about the building -- inside and out. It's hard to imagine that a billionaire lived with women and children in such appalling conditions. But bin Laden shunned material things and he hated Americans for being materialistic.
Bin Laden was so paranoid about being captured by U.S. forces that he ordered all garbage to be burned on the grounds inside the compound rather than being set out by the curb for pickup.
The trash that couldn't be burned was left to pile up on every floor of the 3-story house in huge mounds of filth for the 5 years that they lived there.