“Justice has been done,” President Barack Obama announced in a press conference and declared the success of the US army which managed to kill the most dreaded terrorist of the world in a military operation in the city of Abbottabad in Pakistan. The mastermind of 9/11 terror strike, who defied all the efforts by world’s strongest army and the intelligence for more than 9 years, was the most wanted terrorist of the world and his death has brought cheers to many. Ecstatic celebrations in US were reported even though it was late in night in the country when the biggest news of this year broke. Not just for the US, people of most of the countries may feel relieved now as the elusive Al Qaeda leader met his end.
But the incident raises a few telling questions. It is said that the information about this US operation was not shared with the Pakistan authorities. U.S. officials said that Pakistani authorities were told the details of the raid after it had taken place. Why the US army did not trust the local authority for helping in the operation? The Pakistan has also raised the question of sovereignty and dubbed this attack as a threat to the its sovereignty. Effort seen as to counter the criticism of hiding Osama. Again the city of Abbottabad is around 100 km away from the Pakistan’s capital city of Islamabad. It is indeed interesting that Pakistani agencies claim that they had no idea about Osama’s presence in an urban area so near to the capital. General Pervez Musharraf has expressed his surprise over the news that Osama was in Abbottabad. Can the Pak intelligence be so inept? Or did Pakistan hide Osama in its own territory as speculated by experts? Whatever may Pakistan’s response be, there is obvious cloud over Pakistan’s credibility. This may also strain its relationship with the US. This also substantiate India’s age old allegations against the Pakistan that its soil is used by the terror organistations growth. The most notorious terrorist of the world was able to defy the US administration for 9 years and 7 months and now if he is found in Pakistan, it can’t be believed that Pakistan had no clue about Laden’s movements. Sudden arrest of Osama’s six children, two wives in Pakistan after Osama’s death also gives credence to the allegations that Pakistan was very much aware about Osama’s place. It is anybody’s guess that Osama survived for all these years thanks to the Pakistan army patronage.
But the bigger question is: are we any safer after Osama’s death? Is this the end of Jihad? Will there be no more killings of innocents in the name of holy religious war? The answer may not be a very positive one. True, this symbolic victory will go down in the history as an golden moment in the counter-terrorism operation. But is it going to help in the long run? Perhaps not. World terrorism scenario had already moved on beyond Osama. Al Qaeda’s succession plans were ready much before. New terrorists have already assumed the leadership role. Ayman al-Zawahri, Ilyas Kashmiri and many others have risen in last few years to take it from Osama. It is noteworthy that Osama’s health had kept him away from the intense planning and execution of Al Qaeda’s plans. He was not so active for last several years but the terror activities hadn’t slowed down. It was because Al Qaeda was already on its future game plan as they had realised that they had to move beyond Osama in near future. In that context, Osama’s killings may not be anything more than closure for the 9/11 and other attack victims. In fact, as I am writing this news of Taliban leaders threatening revenge for their leader’s death is coming. Killing of Osama may also act as a catalyst for the violence mongers instead of a deterrent. It was being reported for few years that Osama and Al Qaeda had some bigger plans in the pipeline and it won’t be surprising at all if Al Qaeda expedites those plans.
Terrorism has grown to such an extent that it is almost impossible to contain it at this point. Though the end of Osama has given us a reason to feel good, practically it will not help the anti-terrorism cause in the long term. No, we are still not safe.