Clinton: US will 'take the fight' to Taliban post-bin Laden

US secretary of state says "we must take this opportunity to redouble our efforts" fighting terror; DNA test shows 100% match to bin Laden's family.

By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER, JPOST CORRESPONDENT
May 2, 2011 17:33
2 minute read.
Hillary Clinton

Clinton 311 reuters. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday the battle against al Qaida didn’t end with Osama bin Laden’s death and vowed that America would stay committed to fighting terror around the globe.

“The fight continues and we will never waver,” Clinton declared at the State Department Monday morning. “We must take this opportunity to renew our resolve and redouble our efforts.”

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In particular, she stressed, “In Afghanistan we will continue taking the fight to al Qaida and their Taliban allies.”

But she said that the demise of bin Laden had strengthened America’s hand and its message to groups such as the Taliban to lay down their arms.

“Our message to the Taliban remains the same, but today it may have greater resonance: You cannot wait us out. You cannot defeat us. But you can make the choice to abandon al Qaida and participate in a peaceful political process.”

Clinton also pointed out that bin Laden’s elimination comes at a time when citizens throughout the Middle East have been calling for greater freedom and representative government.

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“History will record that bin Laden’s death came at time of great movements towards freedom and democracy, at a time when the people across the Middle East and North Africa are rejecting the extremist narrative,” she said. “There is no better rebuke to al Qaida and its heinous ideology.”

In her short address, Clinton spent considerable time emphasizing the importance of the American relationship with Pakistan, calling the country in which bin Laden was found a partner of the US.

The United States has had an uneasy relationship with Islamabad, with many intelligence figures long charging that the government was harboring extremists and complicating American efforts to stamp out al Qaida while at the same time acknowledging its significant strides and key importance as an American ally.

Both Clinton and US President Barack Obama when he spoke Sunday night have tried to use conciliatory tones.

“In recent years, the cooperation between our governments, militaries and law enforcement agencies increased pressure on al Qaida and the Taliban,” Clinton said of Pakistan. “This progress must continue, and we are committed to our partnership.”

Clinton noted that Pakistanis as well as other Muslims were victims of al Qaida and branded bin Laden an enemy of all those who support peace and coexistence.

“These were attacks against the whole world,” she said.

Nothing can be done to replace those whose lives were lost, she noted, but she added, “I hope their families can now find some comfort in the fact that justice has been served.”

DNA tests on the body of Osama bin Laden showed a virtual 100 percent match to relatives, and a woman believed to be his wife also identified him by name, a senior US intelligence official told reporters on Monday.

The United States was now reviewing a large cache of materials seized at the compound in Pakistan where US forces killed bin Laden, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to reporters.

"Those materials are currently being exploited and analyzed and a task force is being set up at CIA ... given the volume of materials collected at the raid site," the official said.


Reuters contributed to this report.

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