So people in Islamabad are having a hard time believing bin Laden is dead without seeing his body, which was reportedly buried at sea?
Again, because there is not going to be a body to see, the conspiracy theorists will prevail. If the burial at sea is true, I don't know how idiotic one could be. First of all, even if you provide very explicit scientific evidence in this part of the world to people, they would still lean toward the conspiracy theories. That's just the culture. Just imagine the right-wing columnists and media people and political parties and religious parties in Pakistan and throughout the Muslim world who are militant extremists—you actually gave them more fodder. You could have had the body and said, "Here's the forensic evidence. Here's an international body of doctors that performed an autopsy." Maybe they did all of this before they dumped the body. Still, the airwaves in Pakistan are being led by the conspiracy theorists.
Bin Laden was found in a heavily fortified compound in a fairly populated area near Islamabad. Did that come as a surprise?
It's standard in Pakistan to build these humongous compounds, where living quarters are covered by green space and that green space is then gated and there's a boundary wall, which is usually substantially high with barbed wire on top of it. It's not something out of the ordinary.
This is a very tribal culture where people—men, especially—believe that women should not be seen by strangers. In addition, a large number of tribal Pashtuns living in the area became wealthy by the drug trade and could afford to build these compounds—this whole area is a major trade route for opium. Another reason to build those compounds is security. A lot of wealthy Pashtuns have disputes with their cousins over land that they have inherited. Because of these inheritance disputes, a lot of people end up hurting or killing their own cousins over their land. So it's common to build these compounds to ward off attacks from your relatives who may be after your land as well.
If it is true that Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, I'm not at all surprised because that is a place where a lot of these radicalized clerics came from. What does surprise me was his proximity to the Pakistani military academy, which is the West Point of Pakistan, where all the commissioned officers get trained. It is surprising that he was bold enough to find refuge so close to the military training college. There are a lot of people who are trying to create intimations that the military was perhaps involved. You know, if the military were involved they wouldn't have kept him there; they would have kept him 100 miles away from that place. It's possible that the military was looking for bin Laden everywhere, and that's the last place they would have bothered to look.