Amal Ahmed al-Sadah
Osama Bin Laden, the founder of Al-Qaeda, was responsible for the 9/11 attacks in New York City that resulted in the untimely death of nearly 3,000 people in 2001. Between his five, possibly six wives, he fathered between twenty and twenty-six children. His first marriage was at the age of seventeen to his Syrian cousin, the daughter of his mother’s brother. However, after several more marriages (four, possibly five – though it is thought the fifth marriage was annulled within days), aged forty-four, Bin Laden decided he wanted yet another spouse.
According to one of his former aides, Bin Laden rang him up and requested a new spouse that “must be pious, dutiful, young, well-mannered, from a decent family, but above all patient.” His aide went on to match Bin Laden with Amal Ahmed al-Sadah, a seventeen-year-old Yemeni girl from Ibb whose father was a civil servant. Weeks after the proposal, Bin Laden transferred a $5,000 dowry to her family. The pair then married in 2000 in the city of Kandahar in Afghanistan.
While married, Amal initially she lived with his other wives in a Taliban stronghold location. However, after the attack on September 11th, she fled back to Yemen with her daughter Safiyah. After sufficient time had passed, she was able to re-join her husband and spent most of her time hiding in the same room in the compound where he died. Speaking of which, during the US raid that resulted in Bin Laden’s death, Amal was shot in the leg. Though US special forces wanted to take her to question her about his life, their plan was allegedly dashed when one of the Black Hawk helicopters crashed as there was no room for his wife in any aircrafts.
After Bin Laden’s death, during negotiations between Yemen, Saudi, and Pakistan, Amal Ahmed Al-Sadah lived with Bin Laden’s other widows and children in a safe house in Islamabad. Eventually, Amal Ahmed al-Sadah was deported to Saudi Arabia rather than her native country of Yemen. Officials, as well as members of her family, feared that she may be targeted by al-Qaeda militants or become a focal point for bin Laden’s followers to rally around. Little is known of her whereabouts today, but it is assumed she is still alive and in hiding.