End of bin Laden

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Osama bin-Laden addresses a news conference in Afghanistan in this May 26, 1998 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

A decade after the September 11 attacks, US President Barack Obama was able to declare on Sunday: "Justice has been done".

In a sudden and dramatic nationwide address to the US people that night, Obama announced Al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces operating deep inside Pakistan and was confirmed dead.

Given that bin Laden had become a synonym for global terror, his death could mark a milestone in the international efforts to fight terrorism and serve as a morale booster for the United States.

The Saudi-born multimillionaire was for years the target of US-led manhunts worldwide. The US wanted bin Laden "dead or alive" as he was regarded as the prime suspect behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US in 2001, which left nearly 3,000 people dead.

The Obama administration will no doubt use its success in hunting down bin Laden to build up confidence among US citizens and restore the US' international credibility.

Under increasing pressure both at home and abroad, Obama needed a piece of big news like this to boost his approval ratings and pave the way for his re-election next year.

The death of bin Laden will also serve as a shot in the arm for international efforts to combat terrorism.

An increasing number of countries and regions have become the prey of international terrorists since 9/11, and the world is no stranger to terrorist strikes that can claim the lives of hundreds of innocent people.

The existence of various terrorist and extremist groups has posed the biggest security threat for humanity in recent years, casting a dark shadow over people's lives and prompting nations to embrace counter measures and engage in international collaboration.

The demise of the world's No 1 terrorist could be a heavy blow to international terrorists and extremists, who have long taken bin Laden to be their inspiration.

Yet, the road to rid the world of the scourge of terror remains arduous and long. Past experience indicates military action alone will not remove the soil in which terrorism grows.

Although international terrorism and extremism take many forms, in the final analysis, they are rooted in the injustice and inequity of the world's economic and political order. Needless to say, international efforts to combat terrorism should target these root causes too.

To build on the good momentum ushered in by the US success in bringing bin Laden to justice, stronger commitment, wider consensus and more international cooperation are needed so that progress can be made in the fight against terrorism in the near future.

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