The killing of the world’s most wanted fugitive raises more questions than it answers, Charles Sturt University academic Oliver Villar says.
The death of Osama bin Laden, who played a role in the 2002 Bali bombing and masterminded the 2001 September 11 attacks, at the hands of the elite US Navy Seals should serve as a turning point.
Dr Villar believed if US President Barack Obama, who authorised the raid on the Pakistani compound hiding bin Laden, had any credibility he would now pull out of Afghanistan - the official theatre for the US-led War on Terror.
“If we look back on the original objectives of the war in Afghanistan they were precisely to find bin Laden and bring him to justice,” he said.
“If they are to have any credibility ... you would expect that the war in Afghanistan would end.” However rather than bring clarity to the decade-long conflict Dr Villar believed the death of the al-Qaeda kingpin revealed how “cloaked in secrecy” the war actually was.
“Questions remain with the operation in Pakistan - firstly why or how was it possible for Pakistani intelligence not to know anything about that happening,” he said.
“So there is a lot of questions about how the War on Terror is being played out and it’s cloaked in secrecy.”
While world leaders, including Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, have congratulated Mr Obama, the counter-insurgency researcher was more circumspect.
“I think the initial reaction is the killing of bid Laden is positive and the reaction, at least by Americans affected by the September 11 attacks, understandable,” he said.
“However I think that if we take a sober look at the situation what we could call the Bush Doctrine remains alive and well.
“That was demonstrated by the way the Obama administration killed bin Laden and that was by targeted assassination.”
This type of extra-legal killing, which US authorities said only came after bin Laden resisted, was dangerous for international law and world security, Dr Villar said.
“My concern is that this will promote not only insecurity but also undermine any improvement in counter-terrorism policy,” he said.
“This could serve as a positive moment and improve counter-terrorism policy but what we are seeing is an intensification of the Bush Doctrine of hunting down people and killing them and an ‘ask no questions’ kind of policy.”
Officials have stated that DNA tests proved conclusively that the man US special forces killed in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad was bin Laden.