Osama bin Laden was killed by US Navy SEALs on 2 May 2011 in Abottabad, Pakistan. He was hiding in the country without the Pakistani establishment having a clue about his presence there. Eight years after his death, a Twitter user shared a very interesting (or disturbing, if you would) account of his ‘encounter’ with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan’s Jalalabad one fine Friday afternoon in 1994 when he was listening to  popular music band Portishead.

The ‘revelation’ was made by the Twitter user in a comment on journalist Michael Segalov’s tweet in which he had asked people to share their stories of “surreal encounters”.

In his tweet, Segalov wrote: “what’s the most surreal encounter you’ve had with someone famous? been thinking about this all day… mine was looking up while riding a bucking bronco in Liverpool last year and seeing Hugh Grant looking at me, who then stuck his tongue out and then just shrugged.”


Among the thousands of responses to his tweet, the one by @teigngardener, whose display name read Diggory, stood out.

The user posted: “Osama bin Laden sent people round our house and told us to stop playing Portishead on a Friday afternoon. He had a house 2 doors down from us in Jalalabad 1994.”


At the time of writing, Diggory’s tweet had garnered 24K likes – 3 times more than Segalov’s tweet.

The user further described the situation and what his own security guard told him.

“We were up on the roof, dozing, as it was fantastically hot and we had no electricity. Our security came dashing up, very apologetic, saying ‘those arabs are here – they do not like music’,” he said in another tweet in response to a user, adding that “It was not a banter type situation”.

While the user’s bio does not give away much about him, in reply to another user’s comment he posted that he was “for a year in Jalalabad working with the displaced in Kabul”, before going back in 1997 “for another 4 or 5 years. Again, humanitarian work”.


Jalalabad is in eastern Afghanistan, close to the border with Pakistan. At the height of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Jalalabad became a major stronghold of the Mujahedeen fighters – of whom a prominent name was Osama bin Laden.

A 1988 photograph shows a young Osama Bin Laden in a cave during the fighting against the Soviet forces.


After the fall of Soviet Union and withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan, Jalalabad became a centre of Mujahedeen forces of Mohammad Yunus Khalis. Subsequently, in 1996, the Taliban took control of Jalalabad.

Thus there is no reason not to disbelieve in the Twitter user’s claim.

But according to what is known about the Al-Qaeda founder, Osama was in Sudan in 1992 after his banishment from Saudi Arabia. He did not return to Jalalabad till 1996, after which he came in contact with Taliban founder Mullah Mohammed Omar and declared war against the United States.

Interestingly, Mullah Mohammed Omar, too, has a living-in-close-proximity story. According to Dutch journalist Bette Dam’s The Secret Life of Mullah Omar, the one-eyed Taliban founder lived just three miles from a major US Forward Operating Base in his home province of Zabul after the defeat of Taliban at the hands of US forces.