NATO Chief: ‘Stay the Course’ in Afghan War

Petraeus Says Bin Laden Death Won't End Conflict With Taliban

In an interview today with the Associated Press, Afghan War Commander General David Petraeus suggested that the death of Osama bin Laden would harm putative ties between al-Qaeda and the Taliban. He estimated “between 50 and 100 al-Qaeda” members were in Afghanistan.

At the same time, Petraeus said the death wouldn’t end the war, and fighting would continue with the massive Taliban insurgency. He also warned that other “transnational terror groups” might set up in Afghanistan.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed similar sentiments in his own talks today. The alliance leader said NATO would continue to “stay the course” in Afghanistan through at least 2014.

“International terrorism still poses a threat toward our countries,” Rasmussen insisted. Since officials have long used bin Laden as the nominal reason for the war in Afghanistan, his death has led to a number of calls to end the conflict. Officials seem united in wanting to keep the war going in an open-ended manner.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.