News / Asia

Reaction to bin Laden Death Mixed in Pakistan, Afghanistan

FILE - In this 1998 file photo, al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is shown in Afghanistan. He was killed during a U.S. military operation in Pakistan late Sunday on May 1, 2011.
FILE - In this 1998 file photo, al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is shown in Afghanistan. He was killed during a U.S. military operation in Pakistan late Sunday on May 1, 2011.

As many nations around the world hailed the death of Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces, the mood in Pakistan was subdued.  Across the border there was a more positive reaction from ordinary Afghans.  

The Pakistan government was slow in breaking its silence following the demise of the world's most-wanted man.   

It was not until late in the day when the foreign ministry released a comment saying U.S. forces carried out the mission.

About two hours later, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani said, "I think it's a great victory, it's a success."

Because bin Laden was found deep inside Pakistan just a few hundred meters from Pakistan's military academy, some Pakistani's now fear their country could be blamed for knowingly harboring terrorists by the rest of the world.  

At Islamabad’s Quaid-i-Azam University, student Faisal Naveed says he is concerned.  "The Americans attacked and killed bin Laden in such a sensitive location," he says "which will raise questions about why the Pakistani military didn’t do anything and why they weren’t aware of it. It will be suggested that they did know and didn’t do anything on purpose," he said.

A female student who did not give her name agreed. "Since 9/11 the USA has been saying that Pakistan is a base for terrorist," she said. "With this attack it provides evidence that it is true and it will have a bad effect for Pakistan."

Today there is also a sense of anxiety in Pakistan about whether militants will retaliate and ordinary Pakistanis will suffer the consequences.  

Across the border in Afghanistan, the reaction was more positive.  

One man told VOA's Afghan service the death of bin Laden is good news for Afghanistan, and the rest of the world because of the misery al-Qaida has caused for more than a decade in Afghanistan.   

For most Afghans, though, bin Laden's death will have little impact on their daily lives.  One student told VOA what is really needed is an end to the war.  "We are happy he is killed, but we also want peace," he said.

He says he hopes the death of bin Laden will bring peace closer.

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