By FOX News Radio's Alastair Wanklyn
I lived in Abbottabad for some time in 1999. Let's just say while I was there I was never alone. Home to Pakistan's Army officer training college, Foreigners do not remain unnoticed for long. And just down the road is Pakistan's main armaments factory at Havelian. This, it is assumed, also hosts part of Pakistan's nuclear program.
And if these are not reasons enough to scrutinize outsiders, Abbottabad is also adjacent to the tense Line of Control with India; it is a short ride from the lawless tribal territories; and it controls the main road from Islamabad to China.
I explored Abbottabad with the curiosity of a Freelance Journalist. I attended the old British church and socialized with Officers under training. Sometimes I watched them drilling on the parade ground. Like me, Usama Bin Laden would have heard their daily parade-ground chants of "Pakistan Zindabad!" from his villa a stone's throw away.
When the daytime heat became unbearable I would hike into the pretty hills above Abbottabad, to enjoy the breeze among the pine trees. And even on the mountainside I was never alone. Guards would intercept me and ask what I was up to.
This was pre-9/11 and the atmosphere was benign. But it goes to show that no Foreigner can be in Abbottabad and remain unnoticed.
Did Pakistan' Military know Usama was living in their midst? If not, that tells a scary truth about this nuclear-armed nation's incompetence. If his presence was known, at whose office did that fact get hushed up?
The Generals receiving generous U.S. aid may be playing a double game. Or it might be Pakistan's state-within-a-state Intelligence Agency that's dealing double. In any case, the discovery of Usama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, just 35 miles from Pakistan's capital as the crow flies, must fuel debate about whether Pakistan is still functioning as a state.