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After Osama bin Laden's death, Clinton calls for 'continued vigilance' in fight against terrorism

May 02, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated…)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the death of Osama bin Laden proves America's unwavering commitment to defeating its terrorist enemies.

Speaking Monday from the State Department, Clinton said the nation must stay focused in its battle against global terrorism, and she reaffirmed the United States’ mission in Afghanistan and the U.S. partnership with Pakistan, where the terrorist leader was found and killed.

“Our partnerships, including our close cooperation with Pakistan, have helped put unprecedented pressure on Al Qaeda and its leadership,” she said. “Continued cooperation will be just as important in the days ahead, because even as we mark this milestone, we should not forget that the battle to stop Al Qaeda and its syndicate of terror will not end with the death of Bin Laden.”

Photos: Osama bin Laden dead

In Afghanistan, Clinton said, the U.S. will continue implementing its transition strategy. The message to the Taliban “remains the same, but today, it may have even greater resonance,” Clinton said. “You cannot wait us out. You cannot defeat us. But you can make the choice to abandon Al Qaeda and participate in a peaceful political process.”

Clinton noted that Al Qaeda’s mission of terror was not solely directed at the United States, referring to other attacks in London, Madrid, Bali and Istanbul.

“Innocent people, most of them Muslims, were targeted in markets and mosques, in subway stations and on airplanes, each attack motivated by a violent ideology that holds no value for human life or regard for human dignity,” she said. “I know that nothing can make up for the loss of the victims or fill the voids they left, but I hope their families can now find some comfort in the fact that justice has been served.”

And she said that Bin Laden himself had declared war on Pakistan.

“In recent years, the cooperation between our governments, militaries and law enforcement agencies increased pressure on Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and this progress must continue, and we are committed to our partnership,” she said.

The death of Bin Laden comes amid democratic movements throughout the Arab world, something Clinton drew attention to as well.

"At a time when the people across the Middle East and North Africa are rejecting the extremist narratives and charting a path of peaceful progress, based on universal rights and aspirations, there is no better rebuke to Al Qaeda and its heinous ideology," she said.

Clinton, who was serving as senator from New York when the World Trade Center was destroyed by an Al Qaeda attack, closed by saying that just as the community there “pulled through” then, today the “American spirit remains as powerful as ever, and it will continue to prevail.”

Photos: Osama bin Laden dead

michael.memoli@latimes.com

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