Washington, May 2: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today said that the killing of Osama bin Laden did not end the war on terror and used the occasion to warn the Taliban to detach itself from al Qaeda and join a peaceful political process in Afghanistan.
Terming the success in taking out bin Laden as a “milestone”, Clinton at the same time reminded that the battle against the “syndicate of terror” was still very much on, and so is the US' cooperation with the international community, including Pakistan.
She said the Taliban would do better to abandon its ties with al Qaeda and join the political process in Afghanistan.
“Our message to the Taliban remains the same, but today it may have even greater resonance: You cannot wait us out. You cannot defeat us.
“But you can make the choice to abandon al-Qaeda and participate in a peaceful political process,” she said in her first reaction to the American operation that succeeded in eliminating the al Qaeda chief.
Osama was shot dead this morning in the Pakistani city of Abottabad in a secret American operation and the news set off celebrations across America.
“Continued cooperation will be just as important in the days ahead, because even as we mark this milestone, we should not forget that the battle to stop al-Qaeda and its syndicate of terror will not end with the death of bin Laden,” Clinton said.
“Indeed, we must take this opportunity to renew our resolve and redouble our efforts,” she said. She said the US is determined to continue to take the fight to the bastions of al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan while working to support the Afghan people as they build a stronger government and begin to take responsibility for their own security.
Clinton said a series of terror attacks motivated by a violent ideology from London to Madrid, Bali and Istanbul and several other places have in the past years claimed many lives, targeting innocent people, most of them Muslims, in markets and mosques and subway stations and airplanes. “... I hope their families can now find some comfort in the fact that justice has been served,” she said.
Clinton said America's partnership with Pakistan has helped in building unprecedented pressure on al Qaeda and Taliban, and that the US was committed to support the country as it defends itself from violent extremism.
“Indeed, as the president said, bin Laden had also declared war on Pakistan. He had ordered the killings of many innocent Pakistani men, women and children,” Clinton told reporters early Monday morning at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.
She said in recent years, the cooperation between the two governments, militaries and law enforcement agencies had succeeded in putting “unprecedented” pressure on al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and that “we are committed to our partnership”. Clinton said the United States has worked to forge a worldwide anti-terror network.
“We have drawn together the effort and energy of friends, partners and allies on every continent,” she said.
“We are implementing the strategy for transition approved by NATO at the summit in Lisbon, and we are supporting an Afghan-led political process that seeks to isolate al-Qaida and end the insurgency,” Clinton said.
Clinton said history will record that bin Laden's death came at a time of great movements towards freedom and democracy, at a time when the people across the Middle East and North Africa are rejecting the extremist narrative, and charting a path of peaceful progress based on universal rights and aspirations.
“There is no better rebuke to al-Qaida and its heinous ideology. All over the world we will press forward, bolstering our partnerships, strengthening our networks, investing in a positive vision of peace and progress, and relentlessly pursuing the murderers who target innocent people,” she said. The Secretary of State said vowed that the fight will continue and “we will never waver”.
“Now I know there are some who doubted this day would ever come, who questioned our resolve and our reach. But let us remind ourselves, this is America. We rise to the challenge, we persevere and we get the job done,” she said.
“This is a day not only for Americans but also for people all over the world who look to a more peaceful and secure future, with continued vigilance, but more so with growing hope and renewed faith in what is possible,” Clinton said. PTI