Here is the text of the speech delivered by US President Barack
Obama to announce the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden:
"Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to
the world that the United States has conducted an operation that
killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, and a terrorist
who's responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men,
women, and children.
It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was
darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our
history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory --
hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the
Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up
from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville,
Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more
heartbreak and destruction.
And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen
to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who
were forced to grow up without their mother or their father.
Parents who would never know the feeling of their child's embrace.
Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our
On Sep 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came
together. We offered our neighbours a hand, and we offered the
wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our
love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we
came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we
were, we were united as one American family.
We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to
bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We
quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Al Qaeda
-- an organisation headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly
declared war on the United States and was committed to killing
innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to
war against Al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our
Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of
our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we've made
great strides in that effort. We've disrupted terrorist attacks
and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed
the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and Al Qaeda
safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our
friends and allies to capture or kill scores of Al Qaeda
terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.
Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan
border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, Al Qaeda continued to operate
from along that border and operate through its affiliates across
And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the
director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden
the top priority of our war against Al Qaeda, even as we continued
our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.
Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our
intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin
Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run
this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security
team as we developed more information about the possibility that
we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of
Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough
intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get
Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.
Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted
operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small
team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary
courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care
to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama
bin Laden and took custody of his body.
For over two decades, bin Laden has been Al Qaeda's leader and
symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and
our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most
significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat
Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There's no
doubt that Al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We
must -- and we will -- remain vigilant at home and abroad.
As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not --
and never will be -- at war with Islam. I've made clear, just as
President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against
Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer
of Muslims. Indeed, Al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in
many countries, including our own. So his demise should be
welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.
Over the years, I've repeatedly made clear that we would take
action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is
what we've done. But it's important to note that our
counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin
Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had
declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against
the Pakistani people.
Tonight, I called President (Asif Ali) Zardari, and my team has
also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that
this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going
forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the
fight against Al Qaeda and its affiliates.
The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our
shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens.
After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know
well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as
Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has
lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who's
been gravely wounded.
So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we
will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly
by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in
defence of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be
true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like
this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to
Al Qaeda's terror: Justice has been done.
Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and
counterterrorism professionals who've worked tirelessly to achieve
this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know
their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work
and the result of their pursuit of justice.
We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for
they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled
courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a
generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since
that September day.
Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11
that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our
commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another
attack on our shores.
And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that
prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet
today's achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country
and the determination of the American people.
The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we
are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our
mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it's the
pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality
for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values
abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.
Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of
wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States