Afghanistan’s president hailed Osama bin Laden’s death as a serious blow to terrorism today and argued that the strike in Pakistan proves the real fight against terrorists is outside his country’s borders.
President Hamid Karzai told an assembly of district government officials in Kabul: “This is a very important day. Maybe you have already heard on the television or on the radio that American forces have killed Osama bin Laden, delivering him his due punishment.”
The hall erupted in applause.
Mr Karzai used the opportunity to chastise international forces again for concentrating so much of their military effort in Afghanistan.
He has repeatedly said that more of the focus should be across the border in Pakistan, where al Qaida and Taliban leaders reportedly live.
“For years we have said that the fight against terrorism is not in Afghan villages and houses,” said Mr Karzai.
“It is in safe havens, and today that was shown to be true.”
He offered his appreciation to international and Afghan forces who have lost their lives in the nearly 10-year war in Afghanistan and expressed hope that bin Laden’s death could mean the end of terrorism.
But he said now is the time to stop assaults that endanger or harass Afghan civilians.
“Stop bombarding Afghan villages and searching Afghan people,” Mr Karzai said.
But he pledged that Afghanistan stands ready to do its part to help fight terrorists and extremists.
“We are with you and we are your allies,” he said, noting that many Afghans had died because of bin Laden’s terror network.
“Osama bin Laden was someone whose hands were dipped in the blood of thousands and thousands of Afghanistan’s children, youth and elders,” he said outside the building where he gave his speech.