“Osama has never been a threat to anyone’s security, just for those who are aggressors“
Euhunza, Karachi, Pakistan
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“So Pervez, his ministers, his soldiers and those who help him are all accomplices in spilling the blood of … Muslims. He who helps him knowingly and willingly is an infidel like him,” the tape said.
“It is obligatory for Muslims in Pakistan to carry out jihad and fighting to remove Pervez, his government, his army and those who help him.”
More than 100 of Ghazi’s followers – sympathetic to the Taliban – were killed in the Red mosque standoff.
Bin Laden’s audiotape, issued by al-Qaeda’s media arm as-Sahab and monitored by the US-based Site Intelligence Group, was part of a 23-minute video which carried an English translation of his remarks and showed old footage of him and other figures of his movement.
The tape posted on major Islamist websites could not be authenticated.
Pakistan’s military and the US dismissed the threat on the tape.
Major-General Waheed Arshad, Pakistan’s chief military spokesman, said: “We are already committed to fighting extremists and terrorists – there is no change in our policy.”
The US state department said it was “going to continue to work with Pakistan”.
Tom Casey, a spokesman, said: “I don’t think it changes at all our co-operation or our desire to work with President Musharraf and the people and government of Pakistan to confront al-Qaeda and confront extremism in that country.”
|Al-Zawahri also called on Muslims to fight the
US and its allies around the world [AFP]
Ayman al-Zawahri, al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, also called on Pakistanis to avenge the Red mosque killing in a separate video aired on Thursday.
“Let the Pakistani army know that the killing of Abdul Rashid Ghazi and his students and the demolition of his mosque and two madrassas have soaked the history of the Pakistani army in shame … which can only be washed away by retaliation against the killers of Abdul Rashid Ghazi and his students.”
Al-Zawahri also called on Muslims to fight the US and its allies around the world.
“Stand oh nation of Islam under the victorious banner of the Prophet… and campaign against the Crusader banner of [President George] Bush,” he said.
“What they claim is the strongest power in the history of mankind is today being defeated in front of the Muslim vanguard of jihad six years after New York and Washington,” said al-Zawahri, who was speaking in front of a packed book case with a rifle leaning against it.
“The coalition of the Crusaders has begun to fight the fight of the desperate … by increasing its bombing of civilians to discourage them from supporting the Taliban,” he added.
“Go forth … to the mujahidin, bear them arms, back them, defend them and don’t be intimidated by the power of America for these two blessed attacks have revealed that it is a power of iron and fire, with no faith or morals or principle.”
He also praised the actions of al-Qaeda-linked groups fighting in Afghanistan, north Africa, Somalia, Chechnya and Iraq.