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Why bin Laden killing won't dampen Afghan fight

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Though the Taliban and Al Qaeda are sometimes lumped together in the West, the two have key ideological differences and competing goals. The Taliban are focused on national insurgency, while Al Qaeda is more interested in global jihad.

Al Qaeda's footprint in Afghanistan has also decreased markedly since NATO forces invaded in 2001. Some estimates now place the number of Al Qaeda operatives here at less than 100 fighters. And the group has come to increasingly rely on the Afghan Taliban organization for its survival, rather than the other way around.

"I don't think it's going to have any impact on the Taliban. I don't think Osama's death is going to demoralize, or persuade, or provoke them to take their revenge. Their fight is different," says Rahimullah Yusufzai, an independent analyst and editor of Pakistan's The News International.

After nearly 10 years of war and thousands of civilian and military deaths, average Afghans also question whether Mr. bin Laden's death will change anything.

"When he arrived here it was good when he fought the Russians, but suddenly everything changed and he was the opposite of what he was before," says Saleem, a bicycle repairman in Kabul. "Maybe [his death] will help, maybe it won't. He was only one person and the insurgents come from everywhere."

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