Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the death of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden likely will not bring a more swift end to the war in Afghanistan. Grassley says the precision military strike that left bin Laden dead at the hands of U.S. soldiers late Sunday night was a compelling victory for America, but it won’t bring the troops home any faster.
“Getting bin Laden out of the picture is a major milestone, but we can’t let down our guard in the war against terrorism,” he says. Some 2,800 Iowa National Guard members are now stationed in Afghanistan, three of whom were killed last month. Grassley says bin Laden quit using cellular phones several years ago after it became clear the U.S. was listening in on his calls.
It forced him to change his tactics, like using couriers, which is what led to his being discovered and killed. While bin Laden’s demise will be a moral win for the U.S., Grassley says it will likely only be temporary in tackling the Taliban. Grassley says, “He probably had turned over the day-to-day operation to other people and he was their spiritual and political leader and probably the remnants of his leadership are going to last for a long period of time.”
Some members of Congress had hinted the death of the Nine Eleven mastermind would mean a more rapid homecoming for deployed troops, but Grassley says that’s just not realistic. “I believe that our goal in Afghanistan will stay pretty much the same, with or without bin Laden,” Grassley says. “That’s basically to train their military, help their government become more established and train their police. We’ll start to pull out this year but the pullout’s going to be slow.”
He says the latest plan has the U.S. in Afghanistan until 2014.