Bin Laden Death Could Change Attitudes, Gates Says

COMBAT OUTPOST ANDAR, Afghanistan, June 6, 2011 — The death of Osama bin Laden has been not­ed by the peo­ple of Afghanistan, but it has­n’t made any dis­cern­able dif­fer­ence to the Tal­iban yet, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates told sol­diers here today.
But it could mean changes in atti­tudes on the hori­zon, he said.

Bin Laden and Tal­iban leader Mul­lah Omar were very close, the sec­re­tary said to the sol­diers of the Task Force Ramrod. 

“If I was in the Tal­iban, I would say, ‘What’s al-Qai­da ever done for me, except get me kicked out of Afghanistan?’ ” the sec­re­tary said. “You might see a grow­ing divide between al-Qai­da and the Taliban.” 

Amer­i­can and Afghan forces must keep the mil­i­tary pres­sure on through the sum­mer and hang onto all the ter­ri­to­ry tak­en over the past year, the sec­re­tary said. 

“If we can expand the secu­ri­ty bub­ble, espe­cial­ly in the south, and if you guys can keep dis­rupt­ing them up here and pre­vent­ing the Tal­iban bed-down in Ghazni and else­where, then I think some­time the end of this year these guys will start think­ing seri­ous­ly about rec­on­cil­i­a­tion,” the sec­re­tary said. 

“That cer­tain­ly is my hope, but I don’t expect it to make much dif­fer­ence in Afghanistan in the short term. But it could be a game chang­er long-term,” he added. Gates also said rela­tions with Pak­istan are complicated. 

“The fact is, we need each oth­er,” Gates said. The two nations have dif­fer­ent pri­or­i­ties, he added, and work­ing that out takes time. 

The Pak­istani mil­i­tary has 140,000 troops in the fed­er­al­ly admin­is­tered trib­al area along its bor­der with Afghanistan, and has tak­en thou­sands of casu­al­ties bat­tling ter­ror­ist groups there, Gates said. 

“There’s no ques­tion that the sanc­tu­ar­ies in Pak­istan are a prob­lem for you,” the sec­re­tary told the sol­diers here. “But this is some­thing you just have to keep work­ing at. It’s like a trou­bled mar­riage — you kind of keep work­ing at it.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →