OBL’s demise a defining moment in war on terror


The announcement that Osama bin Laden is dead, by none other than the US president himself, marks a defining moment in the war against terrorism being waged in this part of the world. Security experts believe that the announcement of Osama’s death, the most hunted and wanted man on the earth of recent vintage for the US government, will have huge a bearing on its plans to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan.
Analysts say what remains to be seen now is what effect bin Laden’s demise will have on the war on terrorism and, most importantly, on al Qaeda and its affiliates, the Taliban. The experts see the endgame approaching fast in Afghanistan now with Osama out of the way, as they predict an Afghan political settlement sooner rather than later after Sunday’s dramatic developments that must have brought a sigh of relief all around.
“The US government earlier had plans to withdraw its forces this summer, with the first phase of withdrawal starting in July this year.
It seems that now the stage is set for the US government to realise its plans to exit Afghanistan,” said a security official, requesting not to be named. Meanwhile, the question that is being taken up with most security and political analysts is what Pakistan will gain from the situation created by Osama’s demise.
Those who raised this question believe that the Pakistani military’s top brass lent a strong hand to the US forces in accomplishing their mission impossible on Sunday night. “It is incredible, rather unthinkable that US forces would conduct a raid right in the heart of a Pakistani military establishment, one kilometre away from PMA without being facilitated by the country’s top military brass and its subsidiaries like the ISI,” commented a senior security official.
“It is the same place where army chief (General Ashfaq Parvez) Kayani a fortnight ago announced before young cadets that the military had broken the back of militants,” he said, as if Kayani had in mind then the developments likely to unravel in coming days.
We all know Kakul harbours the Pakistan Military Academy and Abbottabad is home to many military families. Though the circumstances leading to the killing of Osama are shrouded in mystery, with the army and its Inter-Services Public Relations taking the back seat and letting the US government do all the talking, through circumstantial evidence we could connect various dots, suggesting that Pakistan’s top leadership (both political and military) was in the picture and were part of all the consultations before the final action began.
“The whirlwind of meetings between the US and Pakistani military officials, General Pasha’s visit to Washington all alone with something on his agenda which he could not share with anybody, and before that Admiral Mullen’s visit. All these developments suggest that two countries were up to something,” a senior security official claimed.
Interestingly, the public thought that the top military officials were simply attempting to bring ISI-CIA relations back on track.
The question now in diplomatic and security circles is what Pakistan will gain from playing an instrumental role in the elimination of the number on enemy of the US, which will surely bring a lot of political capital to President Obama, whose ratings have taken a nosedive of late.
Pakistan not only facilitated the US special forces, as being admitted now by the top US leadership, but also let them take all the credit for the dramatic turnaround. Both Pakistan and India compete for influence in Afghanistan. Pakistan wants a tangible role in the Afghan settlement, probably a place on the negotiating table drawing up the final settlement. The Pakistani military is wary of allowing India any role in Afghanistan, which the US is not ready to accept. Will Osama’s end and the role Pakistan played in it change US priorities in Afghanistan in favour of Pakistan? That is what analysts are now wondering.