Conflict & Justice

Osama bin Laden is dead: The world reacts


Illustration by Antler.



BOSTON — The killing of Osama bin Laden means something different in every corner of the world.

Many are rejoicing — in America, Russia and Kenya, too. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Al Qaeda leader was killed, most want to know what's going to happen next.

And still others were largely unmoved in places like China and Brazil, where news of a soccer match trumped that of bin Laden.

GlobalPost correspondents gauge the reactions of those around them to news that has rippled across the globe — from Rio to Jakarta to Wall Street.

(Read all GlobalPost coverage of Osama bin Laden's death.)


In Pakistan, where U.S. forces found bin Laden and subsequently shot him through the eye, the news has raised more questions than it answered. "Look at where he was caught,” said defense analyst Ayesha Siddiqa. “That itself would raise questions as to what was Pakistan doing. Why were they so quiet?”

The questions surrounding bin Laden in Pakistan highlight the tricky relations between the U.S. and the Pakistanis. Some residents on the streets of Abbottabad, where bin Laden was killed, say it's nothing but U.S. propaganda.

And security analysts said that the death of the world’s most-wanted man would have little effect on the Taliban in either Pakistan or Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai isn't alone in hoping that the removal of bin Laden will help end the Afghanistan's long and bloody war. Here's a conversation with GlobalPost senior correspondent in Afghanistan, Jean MacKenzie.

India used the news to highlight its own concerns about Pakistan, its neighbor to its north and west. "We believe that the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attack, including the controllers and handlers of the terrorists who actually carried out the attack, continue to be sheltered in Pakistan," said Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

In Indonesia, which is considered a former hotbed of extremism itself, reactions were muted. Though there are some who are bracing for retribution from radical groups. Hardliners there can't let bin Laden go, saying they don't believe he's dead and warning the “infidels” who are spreading the message to check their facts.

Coming trials may help answer just how close Osama’s Asian operatives came to destroying their wish list of targets. Interrogation files offer a preview of the proceedings and a look at how bin Laden’s network extended into unlikely corners of Asia.

China has yet to issue an official statement, but a netizen named Ti Ten summed up the apathetic attitude of the majority of Chinese, who see the event as having little to do with them. “This seems doesn’t have one mao [metaphorically a cent] of relation to us,” the poster commented.

Middle East

In Yemen, residents on the street rejoice, while others warn of a "thousand bin Ladens."


Britain, which has experienced its own terrorist attacks since Sept. 11, 2001, reacted with caution: "This news will be welcomed right across our country," said Prime Minister David Cameron. "Of course, it does not mark the end of the threat we face from extremist terrorism. Indeed, we will have to be particularly vigilant in the weeks ahead."

Russia and the United States find little common ground in foreign affairs, but the fight against terrorism is one thing they agree on. The Kremlin issued an enthusiastic congratulations and likened bin Laden's capture to its own hunt for Chechen terrorists. Take the temperature of the streets of Moscow.

In Brussels, European Union leaders welcomed the news of bin Laden's death with enthusiasm, but faced questions about whether the methods used to hunt him down contradicted EU values. Meanwhile, NATO reflected on the significance of bin Laden.


Kenya celebrated the news of bin Laden's killing. Scores of Kenyans died when Al Qaeda bombed the U.S. embassy in Nairobi in 1998. Many African extremist groups are inspired by bin Laden and Al Qaeda. What will they do now?

The Americas

In Brazil, a soccer match was bigger news than Osama bin Laden's death.

Wordly matters

Global markets showed minimal impact, with gold and oil prices falling slightly.

Why was bin Laden buried at sea? A look at the options shows that sending his corpse below the waters was the choice with the fewest complications.

Videos and photos

See these photo galleries of America's long war on terror, and how many Americans celebrated the news of Osama bin Laden's death. And see the many faces of Osama.

Watch reactions on the streets of Kabul, Moscow, Yemen and Abbottabad, Pakistan, where bin Laden was killed. See footage from the compound where bin Laden was allegedly hiding.

Also, listen to a conversation with GlobalPost senior correspondent in Afghanistan, Jean MacKenzie.

Reactions from Kabul:

Reactions from Moscow: