It’s been slightly over a month since Osama bin Laden was killed by the U.S. Navy Seal team in Abbottabad, Pakistan. And while the United States was pleased with the mission’s success, it has since faced backlash from Pakistan and U.S. analysts alike.
Islamabad has stated on numerous occasions since the raid that it is humiliated and outraged by Washington’s ability to carry out its plot against bin Laden relatively undetected. But the plot to capture or kill bin Laden was certainly not the first time individuals have been able to enter Pakistan unnoticed, and if Pakistan doesn’t change its ways, it will not be the last. Terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and the Taliban have been residing in Pakistan for years now, using the area as a base to launch attacks against the U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan.
So for good reason, after the capture of bin Laden, the U.S. began to question whether Pakistan had been aware of the terror leader’s hideout in Abbottabad. Although Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other U.S. leaders have stated that they have no evidence to support the claim that Pakistan was aware, the U.S. plans to continue searching for evidence suggesting that Pakistan knew of bin Laden’s hideout. Meanwhile, since bin Laden’s death, the U.S. has continued to lead drone missions against terrorist cells in Pakistan. Just yesterday, the United States launched a drone attack in the northwest region of Pakistan, killing 16 people including Ilyas Kashmiri, a top al-Qaeda leader.
While the drone attacks remain an important counterterrorism tool in the U.S. arsenal, the U.S. should consider utilizing manpower on the ground in order to capture top al-Qaeda leaders like Kashmiri rather than kill them. Indeed, capturing and questioning senior terrorist leaders will ultimately provide crucial intelligence that can be used to fight, and perhaps even win, the War on Terror.