Clinton hopes Taliban will join political process
WASHINGTON (PA) With Osama bin Laden killed, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hopes the Taliban would renounce Al Qaeda and join the political process.
"I think it (Osama's death) opens up possibilities for dealing with the Taliban that did not exist before," Clinton told in remarks to the National Conference of Editorial Writers. On Wednesday
"I think his death, his removal from the leadership, along with two very important points that need to be remembered is that the Taliban did not give up Al Qaeda when President Bush asked them to after 9/11, because of Mullah Omar's personal relationship with bin Laden. That's gone," Clinton said.
Clinton believed Al Qaeda was unlikely to get a leader like bin Laden. "There is no doubt that Al Qaeda is somewhat decentralised, but that bin Laden remained the brains behind the operation and the inspiration."
The Saudi dissident was the person who people pledged loyalty to when they joined Al Qaeda, she continued. "It wasn't to an organisation; it was to an individual."
Bin Laden had tremendous sway with so many impressionable people in many countries, she said, adding the world was seeing already something of an effort by Al Qaeda remnants to decide who came next.
"And any succession crisis provides an opportunity. A lot of people say al-Zawahiri will step into it. But that's not so clear. He doesn't have the same sense of loyalty or inspiration or track record.
"I mean, bin Laden was viewed as a military warrior. He had fought in Afghanistan. He wasn't an intellectual. He wasn't just a talker. He had been a fighter, so he carried with him a quite significant mystique," Clinton remarked.
In Afghanistan, the secretary said, the US would continue to take the fight to Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies. "Perhaps now they will take seriously the work that we are doing on trying to have some reconciliation process that resolves the insurgency."
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