State News

Gates: Bin Laden death could be game-changer

Posted May 6, 2011

— The killing of Osama bin Laden could be a game-changer for the U.S. military in Afghanistan by splitting the native Taliban from the al-Qaida terror network, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday during a stop at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

"Frankly, I think it's too early to make a judgment in terms of the impact inside Afghanistan, but I think in six months or so, we'll know if it's made a difference," Gates said of bin Laden's death.

"We'll have to see what that relationship looks like," Gates said of the Taliban and al-Qaida in a post-bin Laden world. "Bin Laden and (Taliban leader) Mullah Omar had a very close personal relationship. There are others in the Taliban that felt betrayed by al-Qaida – that it was because of al-Qaida's attack on the United States that the Taliban got thrown out of Afghanistan."

Bin Laden was killed Sunday in a raid by U.S. forces on a compound where he was living in Pakistan. The raid has further complicated an already complex relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan.

Gates said Pakistan is the main supply route for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, and Pakistan's military has helped the fight by moving troops from the border with traditional enemy India to fight along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.

He added, however, that there's no question Pakistan is positioning itself with potential leaders of Afghanistan when the U.S. leaves.

Gates made his comments while speaking to about 300 airmen who recently returned from a deployment and others leaving soon for a new overseas mission.

He presented a Bronze Star Medal to Senior Master Sgt. Arnel B. Abad, who served in Afghanistan from last September to March. As an operations flight supervisor, Abad led 52 personnel in supporting combat operations at 20 bases and outposts across 124,500 square miles.

"The mission is to do the bad guys – to get them out of the way – and we've done that," Abad said. "(For Gates to come) here to recognize these guys, this is great, and hopefully let them know the secretary of defense cares for them and what they do."

Seymour Johnson is home to the largest concentration of F-15E fighter jets in the world. The planes are used to attack planes in the air or targets on the ground in all weather.

The 67-year-old Gates is on his way out as defense secretary. The former CIA director under President George H.W. Bush became President George W. Bush's defense secretary in December 2006. He stayed at the Pentagon under President Barack Obama and is due to leave the position June 30.

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  • SARCASTICLES May 6, 2011

    Hold on now, sharkman......jbarron4950 was being sarcastic....trust me, I know. ;)

  • forumowner May 6, 2011

    Game changer, not likely. We're behind and scored a much needed point before halftime... start the "U S A" chant and suck it up, there is a lot more of this BS to come.

    It seems to me the locals are angry and someone will step up to the plate to fill the UBL void.

    War On!!!

  • poohpdoo2002 May 6, 2011

    To Mako - it depends on who's looking at you and what you've done or accomplished in their presence.

  • MakoII May 6, 2011

    I risk my own welfare for my kids. Does that make me a "Hero", or just a "Parent"?

  • standean May 6, 2011

    Any one who signs up for the armed services and defends our freedom is a hero. Thank you Mr. President and staff for no leaks to the press, Intel for finding Bin Laden and the Teams for executing the order of The President. Job well done.

  • redapace May 6, 2011

    Start 2 open ended wars and spend all your resources swatting flies, or send in a couple choppers and get the job done in a few hours. You decide.

  • ConcernedNCC May 6, 2011

    A hero is one who risks their own welfare for that of another. I think those SEALs definitely fit the bill, paid or not. They became heroes by taking the job on in the first place.

  • usmcasa May 6, 2011

    Terrorists must learn that we will exterminate their presence where ever they are in the world. This is not a war that will end until all of the threat is gone.

  • poohpdoo2002 May 6, 2011

    You are right. It is their job and a job that they love doing. They do what the President tells them, and they do not care what the President's name is...they still do it. No matter who is in office at that time. Because that is one of the things that makes a soldier a soldier. They have a Code of Honor that they live by: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. Duty to them means carrying out a task that is assigned to accomplish a mission or goal. And loyalty to the US Constitution, the military, their unit, and their fellow soldiers. Personal courage means they face fear, danger, and other things that attempt to keep them from completing their assignment and accomplishing their mission. The NAVY SEALS, GREEN BERETS, and other elite task forces take the code of honor very seriously...otherwise they would not be in the position of elite soldier.

  • ger May 6, 2011

    thanks Mr Gates. thanks Mr Pres. we are with you.

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