So Osama’s dead. And?

by Sekundar on 5/2/2011 · 9 comments

What does this mean, many ask. My answer? Not a whole lot. Mullah Omar is still drawing breath, as are Haqqani pater and fils, as is Hakimullah Mehsud, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and countless others. And of all of them, Osama commanded smallest number of men, and in many ways was nothing more than a figurehead. ISAF troops continue to flow into Afghanistan today, not from it. Deployment dates remain firm. Attacks have not ceased. The war stopped being about Osama a loooong time ago.

Surveys have shown most Afghans do not know what 9/11 is, nor why we (the U.S.) are in Afghanistan. The greater effect of his death will be in American policy circles, where a new withdrawal timeline may be generated, and in Pakistan, where the government is beginning to plan for a post-ISAF Afghanistan. The short term effect will be minimal among the Afghan population, or the insurgents.

In the longer term, though, I suspect either a serious attempt on Pakistan’s part to clean up its side of the border, or an ISI attempt to ramp up the violence, in order to convince the U.S. to leave sooner rather than later now that America’s accomplished what she set out to do in October of ’01 (my money’s on the latter). Much will depend on how the Pakistani government spins, and handles, the fallout from the raid in Abbottabad.

My hat’s off to SEAL Team Six, and to the government official who decided to bury Osama at sea (no jihadist likes to think of waiting for judgement in the briny depths, plus the burial ground can never be made into a shrine). I would be extremely interested in hearing from folks on the ground in Pakistan and Afghanistan if anything’s changed today. But I doubt it.

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– author of 24 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Sekundar works in national security, and has worked and studied in Central and South Asia.

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Amir May 2, 2011 at 7:15 pm

After speaking to my Afghan contacts, they summed it best…. “[we told you] Osama is from Islam but close to Islamabad”

Amir May 2, 2011 at 7:16 pm

^** “Osama is far from Islam but close to Islamabad”- AFGHANS

anan May 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm


Amir May 6, 2011 at 8:54 am

Anan, you know What is puzzling is the US tried to play Pakistan’s role in 911, If you do a through research you would connect the dots to the pakistan military establishment. Than we hear Pakistanis say no Pakistani was involved in 911, well I hate to burst their bubble the mastermind of 911 Khalid S Mohammad aka KSM was a Pakistani, born in Balochistan, Pakistan to Pakistani Parents with Pakistani citizenship. I believe the ISI used Afghan soil and Taliban to facilitate Al Qeada and other terrorists to avoid blame. From PAkistani air chief who died a mysterious plane crash to former intel chief of Pakistan had a connected to 911. No Saddam connection or Afghan connection to Al qaeda or terrorism of 911.

Amir May 6, 2011 at 8:55 am

^* US tried to downplay PAkistan’s role in 911

Binladen is Dead May 3, 2011 at 12:53 am

and it means a revenge of his allies .. I hope I’m wrong I hope its the end of Terrorism.

intelgal May 3, 2011 at 9:01 am

There are various arguments that can be made concerning UBL’s death and the operational implications for al-Qaeda. However, I think the bigger picture is the implication this has for US-PAK relations and Pakistan’s internal situation. The US just conducted a ground operation on Pakistani soil — not a drone strike and not inside the FATA but in a town just outside of the Capital. Pakistan’s reaction to the operation has been cautious and rather muted. With this strike Obama has made clear that the US will pursue it’s national security interests anywhere in Pakistan, if deemed necessary. The fact that UBL was indeed located in Pakistan, about a mile from the Pakistan Military Academy no less, either means that the Pakistanis knew he was there but did little about it (odd given their relations with AQ, but not entirely improbable) or they are so inept that they couldn’t find a terrorist if he was literally right under their nose. Neither scenario instills much confidence and quite frankly Afghan and Indian response of “see — it’s Pakistan with its terrorist havens that is the problem”, are only further bolstered by recent events. So before chalking up UBL’s death as having negligible effect, look at it from both a regional perspective and from the perspective of what this means for US-PAK relations. Because seen through that lens, this is huge. This is a wake up call for Pakistan.

Turgai May 3, 2011 at 10:08 am

‘Rot in hell!’, the New York Daily News headlined…

Well OK, if that’s the case, let him keep hell warm for the many who belong there: the Karimovs and their satraps; the Bush-Cheney junta; those responsible for the ethnic cleansing in Osh, Bazar-Kurgan and Jalalabad, etc…

Billy May 3, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Hey enjoyed the article a lot! I’m not sure if this is real or not but has a leaked picture of osama bin laden dead.

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