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Stop helping US, Osama tells Europe

world Updated: Dec 01, 2007 02:44 IST

Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden called on Europeans to stop helping the US in the war in Afghanistan, according to excerpts of a new audiotape broadcast on Thursday on Al-Jazeera television.

In the new tape, bin Laden said European nations joined the US invasion of Afghanistan "because they had no other alternative, only to be a follower."

"The American tide is ebbing, with God's help, and they will go back to their countries," he said, speaking of Europeans.

Bin Laden said it was unjust for the US to have invaded Afghanistan for sheltering him after the 9/11 attacks, saying he was the "only one responsible" for the deadly assaults on New York and Washington.

"The events of Manhattan were retaliation against the American-Israeli alliance's aggression against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, and I am the only one responsible for it. The Afghan people and government knew nothing about it. America knows that," he said in the five-minute tape.

Al-Jazeera aired two brief excerpts from the audiotape, titled, Message to the European Peoples.

In 2004, bin Laden offered Europeans a truce if they stopped attacking Muslims, then later spoke of a truce with the US. In both cases, Qaeda then denounced those areas for not accepting its offer.

The terror leader said Afghans have been caught up in decades of struggle, first "at the hands of the Russians ... and before their wounds had healed and their grief had ended, they were invaded without right by your unjust governments."

He said that two separate injustices were visited upon Afghanistan as the Taliban was toppled in 2001: First, the war was "waged against the Afghans without right", and second coalition troops have not followed the "protocol of warfare", with the result that most bomb victims have been women and children.

State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack dismissed the new tape as typical of bin Laden's tactics and expressed faith in the European allies.

Bin Laden has issued four public statements earlier this year — on September 7, September 11, September 20 and October 22. The Sept 7 video was his first in three years.