More than two weeks since the death of Osama bin Laden, there are still many ambiguities regarding various aspects of the US operation on the residence of the Al-Qaeda leader, but everyone agrees that bin Laden is dead. But will the death of bin Laden mark the beginning of a new chapter in terms of developments related to extremist groups and the campaign against them? And will there be direct consequences for the future of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Western armies deployed in the region? The following points should be considered in this regard: (1) Over the past few years, the branches of Al-Qaeda in various countries have created independent structures and there was actually no need for coordination of operations by a leader, but these groups were greatly inspired by the charismatic personality of bin laden as a symbol of resistance against the West. In fact, bin Laden was the central element maintaining the cohesion of the various groups operating under the name of Al-Qaeda. Therefore, the status of these groups in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Iraq will dramatically decline. But of course, there will still be enough incentives for terrorists and extremists in the region to continue their activities. (2) The future of extremism in the region greatly depends on the situation of militant groups that are somehow related to Al-Qaeda, such as Afghanistans Taliban, Gulbuddin Hekmatyars Islamic Party (Hezb-i Islami), the Haqqani network, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, and Lashkar-e-Taiba. All these groups have insisted that even without bin Laden, they will continue their operations against various targets. Their future also depends on the secret plans of Pakistans intelligence apparatus. (3) Due to the United States inability to win the military battle in Afghanistan, the Obama administration has put several new policies on its agenda. The fact that direct, closed-door talks were held between the US and the Taliban in Qatar and Germany indicates that both sides are ready to communicate directly, without the need of Pakistan as a mediator. Moreover, the recent changes in Obamas security and military team reflect his willingness to gradually withdraw military forces from Afghanistan. In fact, by moving the issue of Afghanistan from the Pentagon to other security organizations, Obama is seeking to reduce the military cost of the war. The killing of bin Laden facilitated this process, and now Obama is on track to achieve the defined goals in Afghanistan. (4) Pakistans role in the recent developments should also be regarded as critical. Pakistan has always tried to have the upper hand in issues related to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, but the government and its intelligence apparatus were surprised by the recent US military attack on bin Ladens compound. Now Pakistan is being accused of helping terrorists fighting against the US, and this makes things more problematic. Relations between the two countries are incredibly fragile and tense. Neither side wants the current situation to continue, but the US is seeking to gain more control over Pakistans covert activities. (5) Undoubtedly, the current administration in Afghanistan regards the killing of bin Laden as an accomplishment that paves the way for achieving an agreement with insurgent groups. The Afghan governments agreement to sign a strategic alliance with the US giving it the right to establish permanent military bases in the country is a clear sign that Kabul has adopted a new policy. Therefore, the killing of bin Laden unquestionably affects the current war in Afghanistan and will strengthen those militant groups seeking compromise and will isolate the extremist insurgents that are seeking to hold secret negotiations with the United States. In fact, the death of bin Laden provides a golden opportunity for the West to gradually eradicate extremism and to begin focusing more on the legitimate demands of militant groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Thus, it seems that the United States is facing a strategic choice. Either it must continue to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan, which would be like an electric shock that would revive extremism and terrorism in the region, or it must allow the people and governments of the region to determine their own destiny in the post-bin Laden era. Mohammad Reza Bahrami is Irans former ambassador to Afghanistan. Tehran Times