Aerial history of Osama Bin Laden’s Hideout

This chronological sequence of satellite and aerial photographs shows Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan from 2001 through to the day he was killed by U.S. forces, May 2, 2011.

The imagery comes from various sources including the Department of Defense, GeoEye, DigitalGlobe and Google, The dates indicate when images were captured.

March 23, 2001 – The area before the compound was built. Satellite image GeoEye and Google:

Osama Bin Laden Compound 2001-03-23


2004 – Another pre-construction image, this time from the Department of Defense. The boundary of the complex is highlighted in green. Interestingly, the Pakistan authorities claim to have raided the compound in 2003, yet this photo shows it was still an empty field a year later.

Location of Osama Bin Laden's mansion - 2004


May 3,2005 – Various news sources point to 2005 as the year of construction. You can see the main building and part of the boundary wall are completed here. Satellite image DigitalGlobe and Google.

Osama Bin Laden Compound 2005-03-05


2005 – Another aerial photograph from 2005 showing the newly built Abbottabad compound, this time courtesy of the Department of Defense.

Abbottabad hideout 2005


May 9, 2010 One year before the US raid and the boundary wall has been extended westwards (to the left of the image). Also there are several new structures in and around the compound. Satellite image copyright GeoEye and Google.

Osama Bin Laden's House 2010-05


January 11, 2011. Black and White satellite photograph from DigitalGlobe.

Osama's house in Abbottabad, Pakistan 2011-01-15


2011 – Abbottabad compound. Aerial photograph from the CIA.

Osama Bin Laden's mansion 2011


2011 – Abbottabad compound. Aerial oblique from the Pentagon.

Osama Bin Laden compound sometime in 2011


May 2, 2011 – Abbottabad compound taken at 10.21 local time, ten hours after the raid. Notice the blackened smudge of the helicopter crash site. Satellite image courtesy GeoEye.

Osama Bin Laden's compound after the US attack 2011-05-02


Image Sources:

One Response to Aerial history of Osama Bin Laden’s Hideout

  1. Lisa says:

    Thanks for putting all these together!

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