Sunday, May 1, 2011

So, where is Abbottabad?

Before Obama gave his speech announcing the death of Osama bin Laden, initial reports were saying that he had been killed outside of Islamabad. I could not catch the name of the city that Obama named, so I went to Wikipedia. As of 9:01 PM Pacific time, this is how the Wikipedia entry for Abbottabad began:

Abbottabad (Urdu: ایبٹ آباد) is a city located in the Hazara region/division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, formerly NWFP, of Pakistan. The city is situated in the Orash Valley, 150 km north of Islamabad and 200 km east of Peshawar at an altitude of 4,120 feet (1,260 m). The city is well-known throughout Pakistan for its pleasant weather, high standard educational institutions and military establishments. It remains a major hub for tourism of regions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir in the summer. On May 2, 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed in Abbottabad.

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Lonely Planet describes the city:

Abbottabad (ab-it-uh-baad), Hazara’s headquarters and biggest town, was founded as a British garrison town in the 1850s, and the shady gardens, church bells and wide streets in the Cantonment evoke the colonial era. Beside the Cantonment is a compact and vibrant bazaar.

It would have its attractions for someone on the run, like bin Laden:

Apart from changing money for an excursion into the Kaghan Valley there’s little reason for other travellers to make a halt.]

On the other hand:

The town has a sizable Christian minority and three active churches (Presbyterian, Anglican and Catholic).
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