Bin Laden's death could be 'game changer': Gates

By AFP
Published: May 7, 2011

US defense secretary says it is too soon to say for certain what the effect of the raid might be on the Afghan war.

WASHINGTON: US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday the death of Osama Bin Laden could be a “game-changer” for the US-led war effort in Afghanistan.

In his first public remarks since US Navy commandos killed the al Qaeda founder in his hideout in Pakistan on Monday, Gates said it was too soon to say for certain what the effect of the raid might be on the nine-year-old war in Afghanistan.

“I think in terms of the impact of the killing of Osama Bin Laden, in terms of the situation in Afghanistan, I think that there is a possibility that it could be a game changer,” Gates told service members at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina.

The Pentagon chief suggested that the killing of Bin Laden could aggravate tensions between the Taliban insurgency, which includes spiritual leader Mullah Omar, and al Qaeda.

“Bin Laden and Mullah Omar had a very close personal relationship. And there are others in the Taliban who have felt betrayed by al Qaeda, that it was because of al Qaeda’s attack on the United States that the Taliban got thrown out of Afghanistan,” said Gates, according to a transcript released by the Pentagon.

He added that it was “too early to make a judgment in terms of the impact inside Afghanistan, but I think in six months or so we’ll probably know if it’s made a difference.”

About 100,000 US troops are deployed in Afghanistan in a protracted counter-insurgency campaign against the Taliban, which was ousted in a US invasion in 2001 for its support for al Qaeda.

Gates spoke a day after holding a private meeting at an undisclosed location with the team of US Navy SEALs who carried out the raid on Bin Laden’s compound. No members of the US assault team were killed or wounded in the operation.

“He wanted to personally and privately express his admiration and appreciation for their extraordinary service and historic achievement,” Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said.

Reader Comments (5)

  • May 7, 2011 - 2:15PM

    Time is approaching fast once US and NATO will leave Afghanistan.

    As they will leave………… Taliban will re-emerge and will take over Afghanistan bit by bit and will finally invade Kabul. Pro Pak Pashtun Majority Govt will be installed in Kabul.

    That was the bad time for Pro-Indian Northern Alliance and Indians. Numerous under cover Indian consulates will be closed and aid to Baloch rebels will cease.

    Eventually, Indians will be kicked out of Afghanistan.

    $ 2 Billion invested by Indians will be drained in gutter.

    Western borders of Pak will be safe again. Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    May 7, 2011 - 2:25PM

    Why certainly Mr Gates; In the next couple of days Mullah Umar will send his emissary to seek the terms of his surrender and request that he be buried in the Caspian Sea!Recommend

  • May 7, 2011 - 5:39PM

    Killed Osama? Where is the evidence?Recommend

  • malik
    May 7, 2011 - 7:13PM

    @Moise:
    Killed Osama? Where is the evidence?

    Why don’t you ask one of his many wives left behind?Recommend

  • May 9, 2011 - 1:18PM

    @malik:
    Left behind when he died first time or this time?Recommend

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