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Al-Qaeda number two urges Pakistanis to back insurgents

world Updated: Jul 15, 2009 18:11 IST
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Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Al-Qaeda number two, on Tuesday urged Pakistanis to support insurgents in their battle against a US-led "crusade" which he said threatened the country's existence.

In an eight-minute, 49-second English-language video called "My Muslim Brothers and Sisters in Pakistan," Zawahiri said US intervention in Pakistan's military and politics could break up the nuclear-armed nation.

"The American crusader manipulation of Pakistan's destiny has reached such an extent that it now poses a grave danger to Pakistan's future and very existence," Zawahiri said in his speech.

The SITE Intelligence Group said the video was posted on jihadist web forums on Tuesday.

"It is evident that Pakistan is deeply involved in a fierce internal struggle between two forces" -- one representing "Islamic values" and the other being the US-led "crusade" to neutralise fighters threatening Western interests.

According to SITE, Zawahiri, the Egyptian second in command to Osama bin Laden, rallies Pakistanis to support the mujahedeen in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan.

"(If) we stand by passively without offering due support to the mujahedeen, we shall not only contribute to the destruction of Pakistan and Afghanistan, but we shall also deserve the painful punishment of Almighty Allah."

Zawahiri last addressed a message in English to Pakistanis in August 2008, calling for jihad, or holy war, in the South Asian nation.