Task Force Assesses Likely Impact of bin Laden
U.S. Kills bin Laden in
By John D. Banusiewicz,
Washington D.C. -- May 2, 2011 -- (AFPS) An
intelligence-driven U.S. operation in Pakistan killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin
Laden yesterday, President Barack Obama announced in a nationally televised
address from the White House late last night.
“Today, at my direction, the United States launched a
targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan,” Obama said.
“A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage
“No Americans were harmed,” he continued. “They took care to
avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and
took custody of his body.”
Obama noted that bin Laden had been al-Qaida’s leader and
symbol for more than 20 years and continued to plot attacks against the United
States and its allies.
“The death of bin Laden marks the most significant
achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al-Qaida, yet his death
does not mark the end of our effort,” Obama said. “There is no doubt that
al-Qaida will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must, and we will,
remain vigilant at home and abroad.”
The president revealed that shortly after taking office in
January 2009, he ordered CIA Director Leon E. Panetta to make bin Laden’s death
or capture the top priority of the U.S. war against the al-Qaida terrorist
“Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our
intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was
far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground,” he said.
The president said he met repeatedly with his national security team as
information developed indicating bin Laden was at a compound in Pakistan, and
that last week he determined enough information was available and authorized the
The president emphasized that the war against al-Qaida is not
a war against Islam.
“Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader,” he said. “He was a mass
murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al-Qaida has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many
countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who
believe in peace and human dignity.”
Counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped in finding
bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding, the president said.
“Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well,
and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people. Tonight, I called [Pakistani]
President [Asif Ali] Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani
counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our
nations, and going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in
the fight against al-Qaida and its affiliates.”
The president praised those who worked to find bin Laden and
those who carried out the operation that killed him.
“Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and
counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome,”
he said. “The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But
tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their
pursuit of justice.
“We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation,”
he continued, “for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and
unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a
generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September
Former President George W. Bush released a statement after he
received a call from Obama:
"Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me
that American forces killed Osama bin Laden the leader of the al Qaida network
that attacked America on September 11, 2001. I congratulated him and the men and
women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to
this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude. This momentous achievement
marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for
all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror
goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how
long it takes, justice will be done."
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