But living in an urban area such as Abbottabad does require some contact with the outside world and a few people have spoken about the Bin Ladens’ habits and routines.
A newspaper hawker told the BBC that he delivered newspapers to the compound every day and at the end of each month his bill was promptly paid, always by the same man.
He never stepped inside the compound and his impression was that only one person lived there but, he added, that every now and then he saw a red pick-up vehicle, with a goat inside, being driven to the compound.
US officials said their long-term observation of the compound revealed that the inhabitants burned their rubbish inside the compound, rather than leaving it outside to be collected.
Another neighbour also told the BBC’s M Ilyas Khan that there was a domestic helper who lived in the area and who went into the compound to clean and to work in the kitchen. She divulged very few details but said that she never saw Osama Bin Laden in the house.
The residents of the compound clearly employed a number of domestic helpers. Abbottabad hospital staff have told the BBC Urdu service that among those being treated in the wake of the raid are two women believed to be maids employed by the family.