By Agence France-Presse
HONG KONG – Global acclamation Monday over the death of Osama bin Laden was tempered by leaders’ acknowledgement that the long war against terrorism is far from over and that Al-Qaeda could yet strike back.
Announcing the killing by US special forces of the world’s most wanted man, President Barack Obama said “justice has been done”, while his predecessor George W. Bush hailed it as a “momentous” achievement.
But in a sign of tensions to come, India lashed out at its arch-foe Pakistan, saying that the fact the manhunt ended at a luxurious villa north of Islamabad was further evidence that militants find “sanctuary” in the country.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari convened emergency talks with his prime minister and security chiefs in Islamabad — a mere two hours’ drive from bin Laden’s place of death in the town of Abbottabad.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told AFP in an interview that the killing of bin Laden was a “great victory”.
But officials in both Islamabad and Washington confirmed the dramatic operation which took place in the dead of night did not involve Pakistani forces.
In neighboring Afghanistan, the fulcrum of Bush’s “war on terror” where bin Laden had found shelter in the late 1990s, President Hamid Karzai said the Al-Qaeda supremo had “paid for his actions”.
But pointing the finger at Pakistan, Karzai also claimed vindication for his oft-stated belief that Afghanistan is not the true hub of the war on terror.