The impact of the attacks is not in doubt. Just keeping to western and central Asia: Afghanistan is barely surviving, Iraq has been devastated and Pakistan is edging closer to a disaster that could be catastrophic.
On May 1, 2011, the presumed mastermind of the crime, Osama bin Laden, was assassinated in Pakistan. The most immediate significant consequences have also occurred in Pakistan. There has been much discussion of Washington’s anger that Pakistan didn’t turn over bin Laden. Less has been said about the fury among Pakistanis that the U.S. invaded their territory to carry out a political assassination. Anti-American fervor had already intensified in Pakistan, and these events have stoked it further.
One of the leading specialists on Pakistan, British military historian Anatol Lieven, wrote in The National Interest in February that the war in Afghanistan is “destabilizing and radicalizing Pakistan, risking a geopolitical catastrophe for the United States — and the world — which would dwarf anything that could possibly occur in Afghanistan.”