Gillard warns travellers in wake of bin Laden death


As the world absorbed the implications of the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the UN Security Council welcomed it as a critical development in the fight against terrorism.

America’s most wanted man had eluded capture for decades but as shockwaves from his death reverberated across the world security was increased at embassies and airports.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has reinforced Australia’s commitment to Afghanistan but the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has warned travellers of an enhanced risk of anti-Western violence.

Samantha Seljak reports.

TRANSCRIPT

The Al Qaeda figure head was killed in Pakistan yesterday.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says his death doesn’t mean troops will return early from Afghanistan.

Indeed they’ll be up against a more resolute enemy.

Julia Gillard, Prime Minister: “We’ve got to get the job done in Afghanistan and we will.”

Former Prime Minister John Howard was the one who initially sent Australian troops to Afghanistan.

John Howard, former Prime Minister: “If anything it should reinforce the commitment because what it shows is that progress can be made.”

While it’s unclear if Pakistani authorities knew bin Laden was hiding in their country John Howard says Pakistan is now likely to be the focus of the Western world’s efforts against terrorism.

John Howard, former Prime Minister: “It’s a very fractured country, it’s a very dangerous country, it’s a very worrying country because it’s got nuclear weapons.”

Julia Gillard warned retaliatory action may be taken.

She particularly cautioned Australians overseas advising they should steer clear of protests against bin Laden’s death.

Julia Gillard, Prime Minister: “Do not engage in any of that, don’t get swept up in it, don’t go have a look at it, it’s not a safe place to be.”

The Opposition echoed the government’s sentiment.

Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader: “This is not an unwinnable war.”

Mr Abbott says bin Laden’s death vindicates Australia’s support for the mission in Afghanistan.

Samantha Seljak, QUT News.