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Anti-Americanism pulses through Pakistani town where Osama bin Laden was killed

After Osama bin Laden's death in Abbottabad, anti-American feelings in this garrison town are running high, partly because of a strong sense that Pakistan’s sovereignty has been violated.

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Despite these oddities, few seemed interested in knowing more about the resident of the compound whom most assumed were wealthy Pashtun migrants, or “Khan jees” in local slang.

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The high barbed-wire walls were seen as a token of the family’s religious conservatism.

“Some people guessed there may be more to it than met the eye, but no one could imagine it was [bin Laden],” adds Munawar Iqbal, a construction boss whose property overlooks the compound. “But if we knew [it was bin Laden] we would protect him as our guest. Whatever you say about him, he was a brave man. ”

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A steady fire was seen rising from the compound through Tuesday morning and afternoon, with many speculating that the last of the building’s furniture was being burned. By late afternoon, the house was handed over to police and members of the public, and press flocked to the building’s perimeter, which contained a large, empty courtyard surrounded by scorched walls. Children played in the maize fields around the compound, picking up small pieces of the helicopter that was destroyed during the raid.

Despite such scenes, though, there is a palpable sense of anger here at both the United States and Pakistan’s civilian government, whom many believe have “sold out” the country.

“America calls itself a champion of democracy and justice, but where is the justice here? There was no due process, it seems like rule of the jungle,” says Abdur Razzak Abbasi, a local leader with the Jaamat-e-Islami political party. Many Pakistanis also feel the decision to bury bin Laden at sea was a desecration. Bashir, the construction worker, warns: “Osama may be more dangerous to the West dead than he was alive.”

Protests by religious parties were held across Pakistan Monday evening, including a funeral prayer for bin Laden held by the banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa in Lahore, though have so far remained fairly limited.


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