So How Far Could bin Laden Have Gotten on 500 Euros?

Maybe to Taiwan, if he spent wisely
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2011 6:00 PM CDT
So How Far Could bin Laden Have Gotten on 500 Euros?
This television image released by Qatar's Al-Jazeera television broadcast on Friday Oct. 5, 2001 is said to show Osama bin Laden.   (AP Photo/Courtesy Al-Jazeera via APTN, File)

Had Osama bin Laden somehow managed to elude the Navy SEALs, he would have escaped wearing pajamas that reportedly had two phone numbers and 500 euros sewn into them. So how far could he have gotten with that much cash? Jeremy Singer-Vine tackles the $725 question for Slate's Explainer column and comes up with ... Taiwan, assuming bin Laden was able to board a plane. Singer-Vine says the trip would start with a 70-mile-or-so ride from Abbottabad to Rawalpindi, for the cost of a $5 bus ticket.

Once he arrived at the Daewoo bus terminal, it's about $7 to Islamabad International Airport via cab (though his driver would probably be wary of counterfeit euros, so bin Laden would have to take the time to exchange some into rupees). He could then catch a one-way flight to Abu Dhabi ($260), then on to Cairo or Alexandria ($260, $220); or he could fork over $400 to get to Bangkok, then fly to Taiwan's Taoyuan International Airport ($220). Ending up in Egypt would get him 2,500 miles from the compound; Taiwan would slip in a little more distance, at 2,930 miles. Airport security too tough? He could also hit the road. Estimating 19 cents a mile for fuel, Singer-Vine says bin Laden could make it to Benghazi, Libya, in theory, in 10 days; but with the amount he'd likely have to fork over to bribe border guards, he probably wouldn't make it that far. (Read more Osama bin Laden stories.)

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