A senior US official on Tuesday termed the death of al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden “shared achievement for Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US in the battle against extremism”, emphasizing his country’s long term commitment for the region.
“The three countries that are represented here consider the end of Osama bin Laden on Monday as a shared achievement for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States,” said Marc Grossman, the US special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, at a news conference after attending a trilateral meeting here.
The trilateral meeting among senior officials from Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US was meant to discuss the reconciliation process in the war-ravaged country but was overshadowed by the death of world’s most wanted man.
The allies in war against terrorism expressed hope that their meeting would provide “new impetus” in achieving their shared objectives. “The death of Osama Bin Laden does not, in any way, alter US commitment to the long term fight against extremism and terrorism,” the US envoy told reporters at a joint news conference along with Pakistan’s foreign secretary and Afghanistan’s deputy foreign minister.
Tracked through intelligence sources in August 2010, Bin Laden was killed by the US Seals in a mansion in Abbotabad (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) in the early hours of May 2.
The death of the al Qaeda chief is being hailed as a momentous achievement, but conspiracy theories have been swirling since no video evidence of Bin Laden’s death has been shared yet.
In response to such theories, Ambassador Grossman simply said, “he is dead”.
Commenting on Osama’s death, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said there was no point in getting into the forensic details, adding, “Osama is history and we should look ahead.”
Bashir said, “It is our determination not to allow our soil to be used by anyone for terrorism. Terrorism has no faith or religion and killing innocent people cannot be justified by anyone.”
Commenting on Bin Laden’s death, Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Jaweed Ludin said, “This guy was someone who had on his hands the blood of innocent Afghans and thousands of Muslims across the world. He was not merely an enemy of the US. Hence, justice has been brought on behalf of millions of Muslims.”
Regarding the drone attacks, he said, “We should consider the purpose of Pakistan-US counter terrorism cooperation.” Thousands of Pakistani civilians and soldiers have become victims of terrorism, and coordination with Pakistan is designed to help bring security to Pakistanis and Americans around the world. This is a noble goal, he added.
Earlier, while giving details of the trilateral meeting, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir stated that Pakistan, the United States and Afghanistan had agreed to cooperate and coordinate in an Afghan-led reconciliation process to ensure peace, security and development in the region.
Ambassador Grossman said, “We will coordinate and cooperate with these countries and put more diplomacy behind it to make Afghanistan safer.”
The US Special envoy stated that their talks were mainly focused on trade and economic integration and how to create more jobs. He urged for the early implementation of Afghan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement.
Bashir said, “Pakistan is looking forward to engaging deeply with the US and Afghanistan with a view to promoting and achieving a shared objective of stability and peace within our respective countries and the region as a whole.”
He said the representatives of the three countries, Pakistan, US and Afghanistan had in-depth discussions and agreed to work together for writing a new chapter for the progress and prosperity of the people.
The Afghan deputy foreign minister said, “We have given a new impetus to our trilateral relations.” He said both Pakistan and Afghanistan have a vision of peace and stability for this region but there are challenges that impede the realisation of the vision.
He expressed hope that the trilateral process has the potential to address some major issues of common interest for the three countries.
“This year we came closer than ever to attaining our vision of peace and we hope that Pakistan and other friends would continue to extend cooperation for achieving this objective,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2011.
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