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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Norway welcomes bin Laden death

Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Støre has hailed the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden as “a pleasing breakthrough in the fight against terror,” while Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg warned that “the fight against terrorism is not over.”

Speaking to news agency NTB, Støre said, “I praise the American action that led to the deadly attack against Osama bin Laden,” who had “finally been held responsible” after masterminding “one of the worst terror incidents of our time.” Støre went on to say that “his death will weaken the terror network al-Qaida.” .

Prime Minister Stoltenberg nonetheless warned of the continued problems of terrorism, speaking of “a common responsibility to fight international terrorism.” Støre too warned that “the threat from al-Qaida remains.” He commented that “it is a fragmented organization that has shown the capability and will to use terror against civilians in its struggle.” “Osama bin Laden has hardly been the central force in the network in recent years but his leadership role has still been significant,” Støre added.

Opposition politicians also sounded notes of caution while welcoming the news. The leader of parliament’s foreign policy committee and Conservative Party representative, Ine Eriksen Søreide, commented to Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that “we must remember that bin Laden’s death is not the same as the death of al-Qaida,” adding that people should be “level-headed when it comes to the practical significance this victory has.” The Progress Party’s Ketil Solvik-Olsen suggested that the outcome could not been seen as a unblemished victory for the US as it was “a little ridiculous” that they had not managed to catch bin Laden before. Meanwhile, Hans Olav Syversen of the Christian Democrats fears the threat of a “mobilization” by al-Qaida to show their continuing strength, adding that “symbolically it certainly has great significance but it remains to be seen if it leads to concrete consequences.”

Foreign minister Støre also confirmed that there would be no consequences from the death of bin Laden for Norway’s continued presence in Afghanistan. Afghanistan “is an engagement that came after September 11, with the intention of giving Afghanistan a new future,” Støre said.

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