Taliban cannot win, should spurn al Qaeda: Clinton

WASHINGTON Mon May 2, 2011 1:56pm EDT

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pauses next to Haitian President-elect Michel Martelly while speaking at the State Department in Washington, April 20, 2011. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pauses next to Haitian President-elect Michel Martelly while speaking at the State Department in Washington, April 20, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden's death on Monday bolsters the case for the Taliban to abandon al Qaeda and negotiate an end to the Afghan war, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a stance questioned by some analysts.

Bin Laden was killed in a U.S. helicopter raid on a mansion compound near the Pakistani capital Islamabad, ending a long worldwide hunt for the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

The Taliban sheltered Bin Laden in Afghanistan for years, leading then-President George W. Bush to topple its regime in late 2001 and ushering in a nearly decade-long war between U.S.-led forces and the Islamist group.

Despite the fact bin Laden was found in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, Clinton also defended the U.S. cooperation with Pakistan, saying it helped locate the al Qaeda leader and Washington was committed to the partnership.

"In Afghanistan we will continue taking the fight to al Qaeda and their Taliban allies," Clinton said in a brief appearance at the State Department, saying she hoped they would take note of U.S. determination.

"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 added.

President Barack Obama, who announced that U.S. special forces had killed bin Laden, has planned to begin to begin pulling out some of the 100,000 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan in July despite record violence in the country.

Brian Katulis of Washington's Center for American Progress think tank, which has close ties to the White House, said it was unclear whether bin Laden's death might prompt the Taliban to sever ties with al Qaeda or to seek a political solution.

"Some have argued that elements of the Taliban had already learned their lesson of cooperation with Al Qaeda before bin Laden's death, but the tactical cooperation continues," Katulis wrote in an analytical note.

"I just don't think there are enough data points that are credible to point one way or another -- especially given how fragmented the Taliban has become," he added.

TALIBAN FACE A "BAD MOMENT"

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that his death might influence the Taliban's calculations, but that she would not wish to exaggerate by how much.

"I wouldn't overestimate the impact on what the Taliban will do, although I am quite sure that this is a bad moment for them," she told Reuters. "They have a different dynamic and a different set of interests but, look, this has got to help."

U.S. officials have long believed that safe havens on the Pakistani side of the border have helped the Afghan Taliban.

Some influential U.S. lawmakers took aim at Pakistan, a major recipient of U.S. aid, on Monday, saying that it had many questions about how Pakistan could not have known about bin Laden's presence in the sprawling compound.

Clinton, however, defended the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.

"Cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden," she said. "We're committed to this partnership. We think its in the best interests of the security and safety of the United States."

Clinton also said the uprisings that have ousted authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt vitiated bin Laden's ideological appeal because they showed Muslims could improve their lot through peaceful protest rather than violence.

"History will record that bin Laden's death came at a time of great movements toward freedom and democracy, at a time when the people across the Middle East and North Africa are rejecting the extremist narratives and charting a path of peaceful progress," she said. "There is no better rebuke to al Qaeda and its heinous ideology."

(Editing by Jackie Frank)

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Comments (1)
symbolsofa wrote:
INDEED “Osama bin Laden’s central theme is the suffering and humiliation of the Muslims in the hands of non-Muslims led by the USA. He conveys a pan-Islamic nationalist worldview that Muslims have been facing an existential threat from forces led by the U.S.” This is the central theme also of millions of Muslims. However, the way to defend against this is not the violence. His theme will live even with those who very much disagree with his means to achieve the goal.
Bin Laden advised Muslims all over the world that they must continue their struggle to abolish the lordship of non muslims over muslim countries and establish the islamic shariah for the pleasure of Allah and for the success in the Life Hereafter.
Osama Bin Laden will be remembered as the anti-imperialist hero . Indeed he was a freedom fighter, at war with imperialists and the time will tell whether his methods are justified or not.
The best way to render al-Qaeda ineffective would be to reduce the political tensions between “the world system” and the world of Islam. In other words, it would be only a disaster if America decides to broaden its “war on terror,” by bombing or occupying Muslim lands, or by unrestrainedly supporting countries that do so, such as Israel. That will only heighten the feeling, “the Muslim ummah and Islam is under attack,” and thus create new recruits for jihad. If you want to prevent the rise of such militants, then you should make their base safe and respected, not threatened and humiliated.

May 07, 2011 3:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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