Children in bin Laden house home schooled
Islamabad - About 16 children who were living with Osama bin Laden in his Pakistani hideout were carefully watched by the al-Qaeda leader, forced to study at home and rarely ventured out of the fortress-like compound.
US Special forces killed bin Laden in a raid on his compound in the town of Abbottabad, 50km north of the capital, Islamabad, on May 2.
Pakistani investigators searching the buildings after the raid found a room equipped with a drawing board that served as a home school for the children.
"The kids weren't allowed to go to nearby schools to avoid being traced," said a Pakistani security official.
"They were very protective, very secretive about the children... As you can imagine, the children may have blurted something out," said the official, who declined to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The world's most wanted man spent nearly 10 years in hiding after orchestrating the September 11 2001, attacks on the United States, until US agents finally tracked him down.
Among the people that Pakistani authorities detained after the raid were three of bin Laden's wives, a Yemeni and two Saudi Arabians.
The two Saudi women were highly educated, with one of them holding a doctorate in Islamic law, and it was they who taught the children, the Pakistani investigators said.
Among the children, were four of bin Laden's grandchildren, they said. It was not believed that all of the other children were bin Laden's, they said.
One of bin Laden's adult sons was killed in the US raid along with two other men.
Neighbours on the edge of Abbottabad where the compound was located were shocked to learn that bin Laden had been living among them but some said his presence explained the strange behaviour of the residents of the compound.
The children never ventured out alone to play with the neighbourhood children and were only occasionally seen walking to nearby shops, but always with an adult, neighbours said.
Pakistani security officials said bin Laden's wives and the children will be deported back to their countries after an investigation is finished.