Impact of bin Laden’s Death Still Unknown, Gates Says

CAMP EGGERS, Afghanistan, June 4, 2011 — It is too ear­ly to see if the death of al-Qai­da leader Osama bin Laden will have an effect on the fight­ing in Afghanistan, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates said here today.

Speak­ing dur­ing a news con­fer­ence with Afghan Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai, the sec­re­tary also said the respon­si­ble draw­down of Amer­i­can forces ordered by Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma will begin next month. 

Bin Laden used Afghanistan as a safe haven for years before the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist attacks on the Unit­ed States. He had years to devel­op rela­tion­ships with local Afghans, and he was a par­tic­u­lar­ly close friend with Afghan Tal­iban leader Mul­lah Omar. 

The draw­down must be cau­tious to begin, Gates said. “It is too soon yet to see the con­se­quences or mean­ing of the elim­i­na­tion of bin Laden,” he added. 

Offi­cials hope that because of the close ties between Mul­lah Omar and bin Laden, the al-Qai­da leader’s death at the hands of Navy SEALs in Pak­istan will lead to many in the Tal­iban to walk away from al-Qai­da and dis­avow the orga­ni­za­tion, the sec­re­tary said. 

“I think it’s too ear­ly to tell. My hope is that we would have some indi­ca­tion per­haps lat­er this year of the impact,” the sec­re­tary said. “But I think the impor­tant thing is for us to see through where we are today. We have enjoyed a lot of suc­cess over the last year to 18 months. We need to con­tin­ue that.” 

If coali­tion and Afghan forces can con­tin­ue to hold the ter­ri­to­ry that has been recap­tured in Hel­mand and Kan­da­har provinces, then “we will be in a posi­tion toward the end of this year to per­haps have an open­ing with respect to rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, or at least be in a posi­tion to say we’ve turned a cor­ner here in Afghanistan,” Gates said. 

“I think mak­ing any change pri­or to that time would be pre­ma­ture,” he added. 

Karzai said he hopes those in the Tal­iban who are not affil­i­at­ed with ter­ror groups will “take this oppor­tu­ni­ty to return to their coun­try in peace and dig­ni­ty and par­tic­i­pate with the rest of the Afghan peo­ple in rebuild­ing their country.” 

The pres­i­dent said Afghan forces will con­tin­ue to take on Tal­iban fight­ers, but that “the Afghan peo­ple would want that this cam­paign … does not bring them casu­al­ties in the form of more civil­ians bom­bard­ed or night raids that cause deaths to civil­ians, or deten­tions of civil­ians that cause suffering.” 

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 →