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Zawahiri urges Afghans to work with Qaeda

A new videotape by Al-Qaeda's second-in-command calls on Muslims in Afghanistan to work against the Americans.

india Updated: Jun 22, 2006 13:39 IST

A new videotape of Al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, calls on Muslims in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan to work with Al-Qaeda against the Americans, a news report said.

Al-Zawahiri addresses Afghans in the nearly-four-minute videotape released on Wednesday on Islamist websites, according to CNN.

He refers to "crimes against the Afghan people by the Americans" and calls on young men in Kabul's universities to defend their homeland against what he called invaders.

Speaking in Arabic, he claims to have recorded the message the day after deadly riots in Kabul on May 29 triggered by a traffic accident between a US military convoy and civilian motorists.

Al-Zawahiri's message is translated on the websites into Pashto and Farsi, two other languages widely spoken in Afghanistan.

Al-Zawahiri does not mention the death of Iraqi Al-Qaeda leader Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a US airstrike on June 7.

Al-Zawahiri makes references to what he calls desecration of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, at Bagram, a US base in Afghanistan, and the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility in Cuba. It also refers to perceived insults against Muslims in Denmark, France and Italy.

Al-Zawahiri also mentions former US president Bill Clinton, former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and writer Salman Rushdie, who was condemned to death by Iranian clerics in 1988.

A Pentagon spokeswoman said on Wednesday night that the Pentagon was not aware of the videotape and said US intelligence organisations would be responsible for determining its authenticity.

The duty officer for the secretary of defence could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday night.