An interesting article, and for my geography students, excellent Geography Journal fodder. Geographers, not just one as this article title alludes, have developed a model to narrow the search for Osama bin Laden. In fact, their analysis have identified the area within the red box as the most likely candidate for his home.
The article cites animal distribution theories as the basis for establishing this location. GIS is a potent tool for the analysis of habitats, whether those habitats be associated with squirrels or terrorists. Software tools are available that use Animal Movement algorithms for crime analysis. Why not use these same tools to find UBL?
The geographers, according to the article, narrowed the scope of UBL’s habitat to about three houses in a city, Parachinar, of about 500,000 people. That, to me, anyway, seems like a stretch.
Noting the map above, the city is a plausible host for UBL. The city is the closest one can get to Afghanistan without crossing into Afghanistan. A city of 500,000 would allow someone like UBL to hide without his presence being common knowledge. Many services would most likely be available to him, medical, telecommunications, internet, grocery stores, and the like. The close proximity to Kabul would allow him to maintain contact with Al-Qaeda associates within Afghanistan. Parachinar also lies along the route to Peshawar (pop: 3 million) and Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan (pop: 1.5 million) and Rawalpindi (pop: 3 million).
Parachinar is also located in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which is an oxymoron. The FATA is anything but administered by the Pakistani federal government; more like an area owned and operated by the same tribes that the government would like to think that it administers. By taking up residence within the FATA, UBL is assured protection by Taliban supporters, Al-Qaeda supporters, anti-American factions, and those seeking to topple the Pakistani government.