On the anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden the US president has said the defeat of al Qaeda is within reach. He was addressing troops on a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Wednesday.
Obama signed a pact with Afghan leader Hamid Karzai setting out a long-term US role in the country.
He said: “We can see the light of a new day on the horizon. The Iraq war is over. The number of our troops in harm’s way has been cut in half, and more will soon be coming home. We have a clear path to fulfill our mission in Afghanistan while delivering justice to al Qaeda.”
However, Obama made it clear the fight is not yet over. On the streets of Pakistan there was scepticism, to the point that some still question the claim that bin Laden is even dead.
One man said:“What on earth is this? That they took the body from here and dumped it in the ocean. There is no truth in this. It is all a drama. They should at least show something, give some proof. Obviously this is going to be used for cashing in on the American election.”
Some experts say that while bin Laden’s death may have a been a blow to al Qaeda his philosophy of militant struggle against the West will go on.
“It doesn’t really mean a big, fatal or terminal blow to al Qaeda”, says security analyst Imtiaz Gul, “because Osama bin Laden has left behind a legacy which he stood for, he propagated and in the process he was able to create a lot of local al Qaedas.”
The Pakistan government is clearly taking no chances with the bin Laden name. Last week it deported Osama’s three widows and 11 children, who opted to go to Saudi Arabia.