Osama bin Laden
A video grab from an undated footage from the Internet shows Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden making statements from an unknown location. REUTERS

The killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. Special Forces came as something of a surprise to the world and many questions have been raised about the circumstances of his death, but there is little doubt that after this life will be different for both the Obama administration and for Pakistan.

Almost as soon as the news was announced pictures emerged of Americans celebrating in the streets of Washington D.C. and New York, the sites of bin Laden's most infamous attacks, proving that even ten years on, the American people have not forgotten bin Laden, even as it seemed he would be always eluding their grasp.

The fact that President Obama was at the very least presiding over the operation to find and capture/kill bin Laden (and the indications are he was rather more involved than that), will no doubt add some value to his presidency and to his re-election prospects next year.

Until now many critics of Obama have suggested that while he does the soaring rhetoric and cerebral theory very well, actual hard results and achievements are difficult to come by. Another line of attack on the current President is that he is something of a wishy-washy liberal, who inherited two wars he was not keen on and views the military with discomfort verging on distaste.

Such critics will now have to face up to the fact that it was the Obama administration that finally caught up with bin Laden, rather than that of George W. Bush, a man whose presidency was defined by bin Laden and the "War on Terror". It was also Obama who used the U.S. military for the operation in a way that not only produced results, but also allowed the military to display its talents and professionalism, rather than its darker side, which was seen in Abu Ghraib and some of the murky incidents of the Iraq war.

That is not to say that Obama can claim all the credit for the death of bin Laden, indeed it seems that the initial intelligence used to finally track him down was gathered in the last years of the Bush presidency, nonetheless it is certainly a leaf for his laurels and possibly the most attractive leaf for many voters who are not his natural supporters.

However while Obama can have a brief bask in the glory of burying bin Laden, the country in which the Al-Qaeda leader was hiding finds itself with difficult questions to answer and a future even more unstable than its undesirable present.

The fact that Pakistan was not only not involved, but not even informed, of the incursion of U.S. Navy SEALs into its territory, speaks volumes about the levels of trust between the U.S.A and its supposed ally.

The most obvious reason for this is fear that should the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI, have got wind of the operation, elements within it would have tipped off bin Laden, giving him the chance to escape.

This alone would be bad enough but the nature of bin Laden's hideout raises rather more uncomfortable questions for Pakistan.

Bin Laden was hiding in a compound, built in 2005, in the garrison town of Abbottabad, less than 50 miles from the Pakistani capital Islamabad. The compound itself reportedly attracted American interest due to features such as its unusually high walls and few windows. It appeared to be designed to keep a high value target away from prying eyes.

Who built this compound? And who gave bin Laden access to it? He surely could not have built it himself and it seems it's highly unlikely that he was merely a squatter in a place which just happened to be both empty and perfect for an Islamic terrorist to relax in, take care of his dodgy kidneys, make the occasional home video and keep away from U.S drones.

Even if elements of the Pakistani ISI and/or government had nothing to do with the compound (an almost unbelievable proposition), how did bin Laden get all the way to Abbottabad without being noticed?

The town is located approximately 100 miles from the Afghan border but only 30-40 miles from Indian-controlled Kashmir, meaning that bin Laden managed to travel around two-thirds the width of the country apparently without being noticed. That this could happen in a country serious about fighting terrorism is absurd. That it could happen in a country that "looks both ways" on terrorism, as British Prime Minister David Cameron has said in the past, is entirely believable.

Pakistan has of course been one of the prime victims of Islamic terrorism in recent years. Yet while large numbers of Pakistani citizens and security personnel die in regular suicide bombings and shootings, parts of the Pakistani elite and security services apologise for and even support Islamic extremism.

The ISI already stands accused of aiding and giving comfort to bin Laden and it would be no surprise to anyone if it emerged that it was members of the ISI that helped get bin Laden to Abbottabad and prepared his pad for him.

Beyond the shady world of the ISI however there are the Pakistani judges who hand out death sentences for "blasphemers", and the clerics and the lawyers who praise men like Malik Mumatz Hussain Qadri, the bodyguard-turned-assassin of Salmaan Taseer who spoke out against the blasphemy law, which is often used to persecute religious minorities.

Despite the damage done to Pakistan and the crimes against its people, many in the country seem to be in favour of Islamic extremism in a way that would probably be approved of by bin Laden. Nor is this ideology confined to illiterate tribal villagers, but it can be found among the supposedly educated middle classes who make up the legal and clerical profession.

The soul of Pakistan is being fought for and who is at the helm of the nation during this crucial hour? Mr Asif Ali Zardari, a man said to be so corrupt and inept he could probably give Hamid Karzai a run for his (or should that be other people's?) money. No wonder the military ruler Pervez Musharraf is seriously thinking of making a comeback - he may expect to be welcomed by the many decent Pakistani's who want to live in a peaceful law-governed society.

The events of the last few days may prove to a be a boost for Obama, but it also adds to concerns that Pakistan as well as being a victim of terrorism, is also be a safe haven for terrorists, in a way not far off the way Taliban-ruled Afghanistan used to be.