Osama bin Laden is dead. The founder and leader of Al Qaeda was apparently killed in a “firefight” with American special forces in Abbottabad, 80 miles north of Islamabad in Pakistan on Sunday. The assassination throws many a hypothesis to the wind: that he was already dead; that he was hiding in the caves of Afghanistan; etc.
It also calls the bluff on Pakistan’s claim that Bin Laden was not on Pakistani soil. The fact that he had found safe refuge not in a tribal badland but in an urban pocket, not far from the Pakistani capital, will end up being debated forever. So, was he there all this while under the benign patronage of the Pakistani army and/or intelligence?
Also likely to be debated is the US President Barack Obama‘s primal statement of fact, that “Justice has been done” with the assassination. Is killing a terrorist by adopting the same means the terrorist adopts, the only way the world’s oldest democracy could find justice for the victims and families of 9/11?
But the key question is: will the death of Osama really bring an end to post 9/11 terrorism as we know it, especially since Osama was not the leader of a mass movement, but the brain and mascot behind an idea? Will the West be free of terror attacks with Osama gone, or will other terror organisations continue to find their inspiration from him even in his physical absence? Is the killing of Osama likely to provide fuel for demands that India too should pursue its terror-mongers and perpetrators and “smoke ’em out” and hunt them down?