What was your first impression of Osama bin Laden?
After the '95 Egyptian bombing in Islamabad, my father was arrested and there was the whole media thing that came out and the Canadian prime minister came to Pakistan and my mother and my brothers got to meet him.
Anyway, after my father was released, he came back to Canada. And when we were coming back from Canada, you know, I was looking through a magazine. I saw his picture. And next thing I know, we're in Pakistan. My father's telling us we're going to a place and we're going to meet this person. I thought it was just like we're going to meet some people.
So we went to Jalalabad after a little bit. We got a house in Jalalabad. And one day he put us all in the car and he drove off. We drove off road for almost half an hour or more and then we came up to a compound. We went inside, and they took us into a big sitting room and we sat there and waited. And then the next thing I know, he's coming through the door.
You had seen him in a magazine?
In a magazine and I had seen this person that was America's most wanted and then the next thing I know, he's in front of me. So I'm amazed. I'm like, wow, this [is a] person who's big, you know?
What were your impressions of him?
I watched him. I was a child then. But I would say he's a normal human being. He's done lots of bad things and all of that and there's lots of human beings that have done a lot of bad things. But when you get really down it, he's a human being. He has issues with his wife and he has issues with his kids. Financial issues, you know. The kids aren't listening, the kids aren't doing this and that. So comes really down it, he's a father and he's a person.
How well did you get to know his family and his children?
His sons, again, they're normal children that, you know, want more. They love horses and their father had promised them that he would get them a horse if they memorized the Quran. So they were so anxious to finish memorizing it so they could get a horse, which shows you that they're normal children, too.
I had insisted that [my father] get me a horse, too, so he got me a horse. So, you know, our friendship between me and his kids was mostly the horse, because you know the horses were fed, how they were cleaned and stuff like that.
Just describe his living situation a bit. How many wives and children were there? How big was his circle?
Osama has three wives. I think he had four, but I don't know so much about the fourth wife and then I know that he has three wives. From one wife, the first one, he has mostly all of his children, which I think are seven or eight. And then the second wife there is, like, two or three and the third wife there's two or three from her, too.
They lived all in the same house, his family -- like, a big house but in different, you know, inside houses. Other than that, there were people around him that just lived by being around him. They do nothing but living around him. People that came to Afghanistan all the way in the beginning when governments were supporting the war against the Soviets. So they came as doctors or engineers and then when they went back they were told they would be arrested and stuff, so they just had to hang around. So no one would pay them or anything. They didn't have jobs or anything. So they just, you know, hanged around Osama.
What were your relations with him?
I'm my father's son. My father is very big and he knows a lot of people. He knows Osama and all these people, but I'm again, the Canadian son because, you know, our family is not so strict in itself. So I like watching movies, as a normal kid, you know, but that wasn't okay with them. That's why there was always conflicts.
His sons were very strict. They wanted a horse but they didn't listen to music, they didn't want to talk about, you know, music or movies or anything.
How about using American products?
When we were living there, one day I went down to the city of Jalalabad, the bazaar, and I bought hot sauce. I brought it back and I was sitting in the big place where everybody was sitting in the house. That's how they ate. They would sit all and the big plates of rice and meat and we'd all eat together, you know. Anyways, I take it out and I spill some and I'd hide it again because I knew they were against any American products -- Pepsi, Coca-Cola or any of that.
Osama didn't want any American products around?
He was against any American products and I can tell you this. He was against using ice and he actually forbidded [sic] it on the people that lived around him. Anyhow the people smuggled it in but he had forbidded it.
He had forbidded electricity even if he knew they needed it, but he didn't want them in any way to be spoiled because with some thing that's how it starts, he says. It starts with ice and then something a little more and then a more and more and more and so he restricted. … Lots of the people around him wanted stuff that, you know, were not American, but just pleasures of life that you need every day. But he was trying to keep them as close to him and as close to his way of living as he can.
Do you think the idea was he might have to live again as he had done during the Afghan war?
Yeah, well, his idea is I can live anywhere. I'll live anywhere. The important thing is my cause, is not me or where I live. That's why he lived in a mud hut. I can tell you that. He lived in a mud house, he and his family. …
Did Osama attend your sister's wedding?
The second wedding. He attended the wedding.
So describe the scene to me. Do you have a memory of that? How was he dressed or what was he--
He was dressed in normal clothes, which, you know, he's dressed in on TV and stuff. His turban, his salwar kameez, the Afghani clothes, and his coat. And with his stick. And his small AK-47.
He came after we already started. There was a big circle with people sitting around and stuff and they started singing. There was only talk and whatever. So I remember him coming, sitting down, listening to the singing. …