NPR logo World Reaction To Osama Bin Laden's Death

World Reaction To Osama Bin Laden's Death

A roundup of responses to news that the United States has killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in a firefight in northern Pakistan:

In Pakistan:

The feeling in much of Pakistan is one of "America, mission accomplished," says NPR's Julie McCarthy in Abbottabad, the site of the operation that killed bin Laden. Now, many Pakistanis say the focus needs to be on ending U.S. military operations in Pakistan.

The compound where bin Laden was killed has been surrounded by the Pakistani military, which has put up pieces of red material to keep the media from getting a look.

That Americans acted alone in the operation brings up questions about the extent to which the Pakistanis are collaborating with NATO allies and the United States in drawing down the terrorism threat, McCarthy says.

"Not to have been in the loop suggests there is a huge trust deficit, and the Americans weren't willing to risk it," she says.

More From Pakistan

In Afghanistan:

The news of bin Laden's death has been greeted with a mixed reaction in Afghanistan, where the Saudi militant is believed to have planned the Sept. 11 attacks.

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Former Taliban officials say bin Laden had long ceased to be a factor in the fight on the ground, and his death will not deter the Taliban's spring offensive.

Afghans interviewed in Kabul expressed satisfaction not only that bin Laden was dead, but that he had been found outside Afghanistan.

In the past several years, attitudes toward the American presence have soured. Even in his reaction to the news, Afghan President Hamid Karzai took a swipe at the international forces that support his government. Karzai said bin Laden had gotten what he deserved, but he chided the U.S. for the continuing issue of civilian casualties.

"Remember that the war against terrorism is not in the valleys and villages of Afghanistan, but in the terrorists training centers and camps. The fighting should be taken there," Karzai said.

Afghan officials felt vindicated after years of insistence that Pakistan was responsible for harboring bin Laden as well as Taliban leaders, but they stopped short of saying it would change the dynamics of the current war in Afghanistan.

Bin Laden had long been isolated from any tactical role in the Taliban's insurgency, not least because he was believed to be on the run. Now that the Americans have killed him, however, many Afghans worry the international community — including U.S. troops — will pack up and go home before Afghanistan is stable. But many diplomats in Kabul, including the U.S. ambassador, issued statements assuring the Afghan government that their work here will continue.

U.S. commanders paused to watch President Obama's announcement and then went back to planning their response to the Taliban's spring offensive, according to U.S. officials.

In Saudi Arabia:

Reaction has been muted to the killing of the Saudi-born bin Laden. The Saudi Press Agency carried a bland statement expressing hope that it would be a "step that supports the international efforts against terrorism."

But Saudi bloggers and Twitter users are abuzz. One person tweeting is Jamal Khashoggi, former editor-in-chief of the Saudi newspaper al-Watan. He knew bin Laden and fought alongside other Arabs in Afghanistan during the Soviet era. He last interviewed bin Laden in his home in Khartoum in 1995.

His feelings are mixed about the death.

"I feel relieved for my religion, for the future of the Arab world," he says. "I feel sad for somebody who was a friend."

More From Saudi Arabia

In Europe:

Reaction from European leaders to the killing of bin Laden has been widely favorable.

"We woke up in a safer world," said Jerzy Buzek, the president of the European Union Parliament. "Even if the fight of the international community against terrorists is not over, an important step in the fight against al-Qaida has been made."

British Prime Minister David Cameron called bin Laden's death "a massive step forward in the fight against terrorism" and said that the news of the death will bring great relief to people across the world.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also praised the strike, saying that though bin Laden pretended to be acting in the name of Islam, in reality "he despised the basic values of his and everybody else's religion." She also cautioned that the war on terrorism isn't over.

"Last night the forces of peace were able to report a success," Merkel said, "but international terrorism has not been yet defeated. All of us will have to remain on alert. We shall remain vigilant and we shall continue to cooperate on an international level. What has become clear today is that there will be further successes in the fight against terror, even if they take a long time to achieve, and the death of bin Laden is a huge success in this endeavor."

The secretary-general of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, called the action "a significant success for the security of NATO allies and all the nations which have joined us in our efforts to combat the scourge of global terrorism."

With reporting from NPR's Quil Lawrence in Kabul, Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson in Riyadh and Eric Westervelt in Berlin