Bin Laden's Death Is A 'Lesson For The Taliban' The death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has been welcomed by Afghan officials, but they caution a complicated terrorist network remains. Eklil Hakimi, the Afghan ambassador to the U.S., tells Renee Montagne that the Taliban should learn a lesson from bin Laden's death.
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Bin Laden's Death Is A 'Lesson For The Taliban'

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Bin Laden's Death Is A 'Lesson For The Taliban'

Bin Laden's Death Is A 'Lesson For The Taliban'

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Mr. Ambassador, do you think Afghanistan and its relationship to the U.S. can now be seen in an entirely different light?

MONTAGNE: Well, as you know, the main point in the fight against terror is to defeat, disrupt and dismantle the al-Qaida network. So now, we get rid of the symbolic leader of al-Qaida - of course that will have an impact on the overall fighting against terror. But let's not forget that there is a - very complicated terrorist networks that - needs to be dealt with.

MONTAGNE: Has the death of Osama bin Laden allowed the Taliban leadership to turn their backs on al-Qaida, in a way that they couldn't as long as he was alive and - what you might call - a friend of the leaders of the Taliban?

MONTAGNE: I think that's a unique opportunity for them...

MONTAGNE: And you say they think so, too - is the word that you've got?

MONTAGNE: Yes, correct.

MONTAGNE: They think this is an opportunity.

MONTAGNE: Correct.

MONTAGNE: What about the effort to bring the fighters in the field back into the fold of Afghan society?

MONTAGNE: Yes, well that's very important question - how to reintegrate those foot soldiers and bring them on board. So those that they don't have ideological connection with leadership, so with that...

MONTAGNE: So it's the people, you're saying - fighters who aren't particularly ideological. They're there for the money. They're there because they don't have jobs, or other reasons.

MONTAGNE: Very true. So for that, what needs to be done - A, to create job, and also to give them some sort of guarantee that their safety will be protected. So that kind of assurance, they need.

MONTAGNE: Like, come back. Be one of us.

MONTAGNE: Come back. Just lay down the arm and denounce violence so you, as an Afghan citizen, you're part of the society.

MONTAGNE: In your review, what is the most positive thing that the U.S. government could be doing, at this point in time, for Afghanistan? What is most needed that is yet to be delivered?

MONTAGNE: Well, very close coordination and collaboration between the two governments - I think it exists there; to be on the same page - I think that's very helpful. And also, not only focusing on the military operation. And with that - also equally important - to think on the economic cooperation. Mainly on the investment projects that create job for people, that not only give hope for the people but that will deliver tangible results, things that we are - desperately needed now.

MONTAGNE: Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much.

MONTAGNE: Really appreciate for your time. Thank you.


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