A few months ago I met the man who demolished Osama bin Laden’s last hide-out – the three-storey villa in Abbottabad where the al-Qaeda leader was shot in the face at short range. Shakeel Ahmed was selling off the bricks in bulk for building projects or giving away handfuls to souvenir hunters. His yard had all sorts of salvaged treasures. Bin Laden’s baths were rusting in a heap of weeds and a homemade TV aerial – made from what looked like a few coat hangers – was leaning against a wall.
I pointed to a raggedy piece of wood, carved into a sort of holy grail design and asked “What’s that?”
“Bin Laden’s ashtray.”
“How much do you want for it?”
“It’s for you a gift.”
So one day, when you see a raggedy piece of wood carved into a sort of holy grail design come up for sale on eBay, you’ll know that a former Pakistan correspondent is retiring.