Osama bin Laden’s death in Pakistan is already causing significant disruptions to the United States’ foreign policy status quo. Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai reacted to the news by claiming bin Laden’s sanctuary near Islamabad vindicates his critique of allied actions inside Afghanistan.
“Again and again, for years and every day we have said that the war on terror is not in Afghan villages, not in Afghan houses of the poor and oppressed,” Mr Karzai said. “The war against terrorism is in its sources, in its financial sources, its sanctuaries, in its training bases, not in Afghanistan,” Karzai said, according to The Daily Telegraph. “The war against terrorism is in its sources, in its financial sources, its sanctuaries, in its training bases, not in Afghanistan…. It was proved that we were right.”The Telegraph also quotes Afghanistan’s former intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh noting that Pakistan — not Afghanistan — should have been the target all along, and ratcheting up the suggestion that foreign military forces should move on. Saleh said there’s “no way” Pakistani intelligence officials were unaware bin Laden was living in a mansion among the Pakistani middle class and members of the military.
“Does Pakistan want the whole world to believe that the intelligence agency of a nuclear state did not know Bin Laden was there?” Saleh asked. “If bin Laden can hide there for ten years, of course Mullah Omar [leader of the Taliban] and his Quetta Shura are nearby and can be protected.”
This is the sort of reaction that American officials and advocates, suspicious of the war effort, will seize upon to press for a hastened withdrawal from Afghanistan.