The battle to stop al-Qaida will not stop with the assassination of Osama bin Laden, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday.
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Speaking hours after it was announced that bin Laden had been killed in a U.S. helicopter raid on a mansion near the Pakistani capital Islamabad, ending a long worldwide hunt for the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Clinton said: "I want to offer my thoughts and prayers to thousands of families of those killed in terrorist attacks."
"These were not just attacks against America, but the whole world. Innocent people, most of them Muslims, were targeted in markets and mosques, subway stations and airplanes," she added, in her brief remarks to the State Department. "I know that nothing can make up for the loss of the victims or fill the void they left. But I hope they can find some comfort in the fact that justice has been done."
"At the State Department weve been working to forge worldwide anti-terrorist cooperation," added the secretary of state. "Continued cooperation will be just as important in the days ahead, because the battle to stop al-Qaida wont stop with the death of Bin Laden, we must redouble our efforts."
Bin Laden was for years sheltered by the Taliban in Afghanistan, leading to a U.S. invasion that toppled the Taliban regime there in late 2001 and ushering in a nearly decade-long war between U.S.-led forces and the Islamist group.
"In Afghanistan we will continue taking the fight to al-Qaida and their Taliban allies while working to support the Afghan people as they build a stronger government and begin to take responsibility for their own security," Clinton said in her remarks on Monday.
"Our message to the Taliban remains the same, but today it may have greater resonance: you cannot wait us out, you cannot defeat us, but you can abandon al-Qaida and participate in a peaceful political process," Clinton said.
U.S. President Barack Obama confirmed late Sunday that American forces had killed the al-Qaida chief in a raid at the compound, and recovered his body. "Justice has been made," Obama said after confirming the announcement.