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Gates: Bin Laden death could be a game-changer
SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. — 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 Qaeda terror network, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday during a stop at a North Carolina Air Force base.
“We’ll have to see what that relationship looks like,” Gates said of the Taliban and al Qaeda 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 Qaeda — that it was because of al-Qaeda’s attack on the United States that the Taliban got thrown out of Afghanistan.”
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. Gates added, however, that there’s no question Pakistan is positioning itself with potential leaders of Afghanistan when the U.S. leaves.
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