US forces kill Osama Bin Laden

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Audio Transcript:

LISA MULLINS: I'm Lisa Mullins, and this is The World.

[President Barack Obama speaking] I think we can all agree this is a good day for America.

MULLINS: President Barack Obama speaking today at the White House. He was referring, of course, to the combination of the US effort to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden.

[President Barack Obama speaking] The world is safer; it is a better place because of the death of Osama Bin Laden.

MULLINS: And, president Obama was not alone in that assessment. United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-Moon today called Bin Laden's death a watershed moment in, quote, ââ?¬Å?our global fight against terrorismââ?¬ . The UN leader also made it a point to remember those who lost their lives because of Osama Bin Laden and his organization.

[UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon speaking] This is a day to remember the victims and families of victims; from the United States and everywhere in the world.

MULLINS: We're going to hear a lot more about Osama Bin Laden's death and global reaction to it throughout our program today. We'll begin in Pakistan, where the Al-Qaeda leader was finally tracked down and killed by elite US forces. Details of the raid are still emerging now. We asked the BBC's Haroon Rashid in Islamabad for the latest on what happened just a few miles north of the Pakistani capital.

HAROON RASHID: Well, what it's sure is that American forces gathered out this operation last night after midnight. And, witnesses told us that there were three American helicopters that came in and looked all residents in that area, went door to door, told to turn off the lights and to stay indoors. After that, the residents heard a few big blasts, they went to the roof to see what was happening and they saw this helicopter crashing in front of a huge spacious compound.

MULLINS: And, what has been the reaction, then, in the neighborhood itself now? I mean, it seemed as if, at least in the beginning, nobody was claiming to know anything about who was living in this compound, who was behind those walls with the barbed wireââ?¬ ¦ is there any acknowledgement of that today?

RASHID: Yeah, I mean, we've spoken to some of the residents in that area, and they told us that this hose was build five to six years back, and that the people living inside had little contact with the outside world. They used to come to buy grocery from one of the shops, and a few days back, they said that they have 8 guests that have checked in, and they need extra bread for them, they need some extra dresses for them. But, last night it was really clear they were sort of scared in that region and they couldn't come pick it up.

MULLINS: How come they couldn't pick it up earlier? When was it that they needed extra provisions, extra clothing and food, how long ago was that?

RASHID: A week back. This is what some of the residents that we've spoken to, we're told that Osama Bin Laden was not living there for a long time. And that is what the Pakistani officials have been saying as well: they couldn't pick him up, his trail, because he might have moved in that area quite recently.

MULLINS: Well, if he moved in that area, this is a garrison community, this has been compared to, basically, West Point. It's hard to imagine how somebody like Osama Bin Laden with such a profile, literally and figuratively could have slipped in or out without much notice. But when you spoke with the former head of the ISI Pakistan's intelligence service, this is Hamid Gul, what did he tell you about just what his organization knew prior to the operation?

RASHID: He was quite concerned that it might give Americans a reason to directly now intervene into Pakistan, and take charge of the war against the terror that has been fought here for the last decade.

MULLINS: Is there any evidence at all that this was a joint operation as has been said here between Pakistanis and Americans?

RASHID: I mean, there are two opinions about that. One of the eye witnesses that we spoke to told us that before the start of this operation in that area, the announcements that were made, were made in the local language. So, that means there might be, to some extent, Pakistani security establishment was involved in that operation, and that Americans might have told them that they are going after one Al-Qaeda target. But, it remains to be seen whether the Americans told exactly the Pakistani establishment that they're going after Osama Bin Laden, because there are concerns within Pakistan and outside as well, that any such information could have been leaked from ISI and it could have helped Osama escape.

MULLINS: Haroon Rashid has the BBC's Urdu service. He spoke with us from Islamabad, Pakistan. Thank you.

RASHID: Thank you, Lisa.