US Only Got bin Laden Because It's in Afghanistan

This proves we can't count on Pakistan, Bruce Riedel points out
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2011 1:11 PM CDT
US Only Got bin Laden Because It's in Afghanistan
Pakistan paramilitary troops are seen en route to destroying poppy cultivation in Gulistan in Pakistan's Balochistan province near Afghanistan border Thursday, May 5, 2011.   (AP Photo/Shah Khalid)

(Newser) – Happy that Osama bin Laden is dead? Well, remember that the raid that killed him “was possible only because America and NATO are engaged in Afghanistan,” writes Bruce Riedel of the Daily Beast. “Simply put, we can’t put pressure on al-Qaeda without Afghanistan forward operating bases, and we clearly can’t trust Pakistan to handle al-Qaeda alone.” And the only reason the Afghans tolerate our presence in their country is because we fight the Taliban for them.

Pakistan’s army is in turn protecting the Taliban, much as it seems it was protecting bin Laden. “As the intelligence community examines bin Laden’s laptop and other gear, the extent of that duplicity will become clearer.” And the Taliban’s recent bold prison attack in Kandahar indicates that NATO can’t afford to withdraw too many troops. “So bin Laden’s demise is a victory,” concludes Riedel, “but the end of the conflict is not yet in sight.” (Read more Afghanistan war stories.)

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