Bin Laden death will not change Afghan strategy: Britain

4th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain insisted Wednesday that the killing of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden would not change its strategy in war-torn Afghanistan and urged the Taliban to severe its ties with the group.

"The death of Osama bin Laden, although a positive development in terms of our counter-terrorism effort, does not change our strategy in Afghanistan," said Foreign Secretary William Hague in a statement.

"We remain committed to our military, diplomatic and development work to build a stable and secure Afghanistan.

"We will work, with our Afghan and international partners, to ensure that Afghanistan can never again be a safe haven for international terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda."

Britain has about 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, making it the second-largest contributor after the United States to international forces battling the Taliban.

Hague added the killing of bin Laden, shot dead by US commandos in a daring raid at his hideout in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad on Sunday, was a "decisive moment".

"The Taliban should recognise that now is the time to separate themselves from Al-Qaeda and participate in a peaceful political process," he urged, echoing remarks made by Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday.

But the Afghan Taliban have so far shown little sign of using the opportunity of bin Laden's death for political reconciliation, voicing doubt on Tuesday over whether the Saudi-born extremist had really been killed.

The United States led the invasion of Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US after the Taliban, in power in Kabul at the time, refused to hand over the Al-Qaeda leader.

© 2011 AFP

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