Nearly ten years after George Bush announced a war on terror in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, their mastermind and America’s most wanted has been killed. For years the CIA believed Osama bin Laden, the founder and leader of al-Qaeda, to be hiding in caves in the Afghan mountains, but numerous attempts to kill him failed to stop the flow of his video messages to Arabic news agencies. To the outside world, the trail seemed to have gone cold as US efforts focused on the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. But America’s intelligence service kept working away, trying to find bin Laden. At some point in the recent past their search led them to the most unlikely of locations – a prosperous town just outside the Pakistani capital Islamabad, home to, ironically, the country’s army officers; the very men who are fighting to combat terrorism. Yesterday, the US army moved in on bin Laden’s compound. Reports as to what happened are still hazy, but it is believed that bin Laden was shot before the building was set fire to. As far as the media is aware, Osama bin Laden’s body was buried at sea.
Whatever did happen, the news of bin Laden’s death has caused quite a stir. In the US, people went to Ground Zero to celebrate when the news was broken by President Obama. Americans feel that they have made a huge step in the quest to defeat al-Qaeda. However, most people agree that the fighters will seek revenge and embassies across the world have been put on high alert. America has always been a main target of al-Qaeda, and with US forces having killed its figure head, this is likely to increase. Around the world, heads of state have been quick to remind people that terrorism will not vanish with its most famous perpetrator.
Questions will arise as more details emerge – after all, this is a hugely historic event. Two wars came from bin Laden’s attack on the Twin Towers almost ten years ago. Now that he is gone, will anything change?