Osama's death strategic blow to Al Qaeda: White House
WASHINGTON (PAN): Osama bin Laden's death represented a strategic blow to Al Qaeda, but United States was not putting down its guard, the White House said, calling the terrorist outfit a wounded tiger.
"This is a strategic blow to Al Qaeda. It is a necessary but not necessarily sufficient blow to lead to its demise. But we are determined to destroy it," Deputy National Security Advisor for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan told reporters at a crowded White House news conference.
"I think we have a lot better opportunity now that bin Laden is out of there to destroy that organisation, create fractures within it," he said, adding the most wanted man's death did not mean that the US was putting down its guard.
The group might be a mortally wounded tiger that still had some life, but the US needed to keep up the pressure, because there were individuals in that organisation who were determined to try to carry out attacks and murder innocent men, women and children, he said.
The official said the Al Qaeda number two, Ayman al Zawahiri, was not as charismatic as bin Laden. "He was not involved in the fight earlier on in Afghanistan. I think he has a lot of detractors within the organisation, and I think you're going to see them start eating themselves from within more and more."
He hailed the operation in Pakistan's city of Abbottabad a defining moment in the war against Al Qaeda, the war on terrorism. The raid would have important reverberations throughout the area on the Al Qaeda network, Brennan said.
"The basis for the ISAF presence in Afghanistan is to bring that country the security that it can have, and to not allow Al Qaeda to ever again use Afghanistan as a launching point. This is something that we're in ongoing discussions with the Afghan government, obviously the Pakistani government.
"We need to make sure that that part of the world, which has given rise to a number of groups -- Al Qaeda, others -- that they cannot use that area with impunity to carry out attacks," Brennan added.
Meanwhile President Barack Obama made telephone calls to a number of world leaders and shared the information about the killing of the Al Qaeda leader. The world leaders congratulated him on the successful American action, which would make both the US and the world more secure, the White House said.
Obama spoke with President Felipe Calderon of Mexico, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Chilean President Miguel Juan Sebastian Piñera Echenique, President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Addressing a meeting of bipartisan Congressional leaders, Obama said there was a pride in what his country stands for. "Last night, as Americans learned that the United States had carried out an operation that resulted in the capture and death of Osama bin Laden, I think we experienced the same sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11."
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.