Getting closer to Osama bin Laden's last hometown, Abbottabad. Photo taken a couple of weeks ago by para/marine Bo Sunnefeldt. This gentleman, Ashgar, was Bo's guide.
My friend Bo Sunnefeldt was in Abbottabad for the first time in 2004, on holiday. He then noted in his diary that the place seemed natural for bin Laden to hide in. Bo has just returned from another visit there, but that is not the only Swedish connection to the end of OBL.
Osama bin Laden did not yet reside in Abbottabad when my friend made his note. Well, at least a pretty good prediction then. Some weeks ago, after some serious mountaineering in Pakistan, Bo thought he might try to examine OBLs former compound. Here are some photos from his trip.
Inside Abbottabad and rather obviously getting closer to the compound.
Alas, a couple of hundred meters from the goal, armed guards stopped Bo and his guide and rather harshly informed them that OBL-tourism is not yet allowed.
My globetrotting friend close to the spot where he had to turn around.
Coincidentally, I recently picked up a book that I now realize takes place ten years ago, Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton. This gripping book is about the fall of Taliban-held Mazar-i-Sharif, made possible by the combined forces of Afghan rebels, laser pointing Special Forces and the USAF. Here is video about the book:
In less than a month's time it will be exactly ten years since Mazar-i-Sharif fell, which since has become home for the main Swedish military contingent in Afghanistan. Furthermore, it was during the drive of the "horse soldiers" towards Mazar that John Walker Lindh, Osama's American volunteer, was captured.
Lindh I knew about and Swedish reporters have confirmed that his father is a Swedish American. But what really came as a surprise to me was to read in Horse Soldiers the name of one of John Walker Lindh's two original captors, CIA paramilitary officer Dave Olson. In other words the name strongly suggests that Lindh was captured by another Swedish American. Olson might possibly mean roots from another Nordic country than Sweden, but usually Danish and Norwegian surnames end with -sen, not -son.
There was at least one more Olson, Eric Thor Olson, who was very much part of the hunt for OBL. In his case not only the surname indicates Swedish or at least Nordic roots. Does someone out there know more about his roots?