Tunnelling into Bin Laden’s compound

19 August 2011

This weekend I finally had a chance to read the New Yorker article about Bin Laden’s capture and death. I’m about six months behind on my subscription, but after a few different media outlets picked up the article because the CIA considered tunnelling into his compound, I allowed the August 8 issue to jump the queue.

The article cites water as the main deterrent for tunnelling. It seems the compound in Abbottabad is in a flood basin. It doesn’t say much else about that tactic. At first mention, I couldn’t get my head around concerns like noise, length of time to construction a tunnel and limited exit options from the compound in the case of entrapment.

I’d like to think the planners felt relieved that water ruled out this option. These Navy SEALs are amazing powerful, but how well would they do on a shotcrete certification exam?

Now I’m definitely not in a position to critique the CIA’s decision making and wouldn’t think to do so. All things considered, I’d call the raid a success as it was carried out.

But with the city’s location in the foothills of the Pir Panjal Range, there are projects in the region to consider when looking at the feasibility of underground construction. Check out T&TI February 2010 for a report by Dr. Friedrich Prinzl, project director for Geoconsult, on NATM for the Pir Panjal Tunnel.

Available online for subscribers.