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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Purported al Qaeda message: Unite with Taliban

(CNN) -- In a message released Monday, al Qaeda's No. 2 leader called on Muslims to unite under Taliban leader Mullah Omar, stop trying to form secular governments and instead follow strict Islamic Sharia law.

The message from Ayman al-Zawahiri, the top aide to al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, appeared on an Islamist Web site.

The video contained a still picture of al-Zawahiri, the audio remarks and English subtitles.

A text translation also accompanied the tape and was provided to CNN by lauramansfield.com, a Web site that analyzes terrorism.

CNN could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the videotape.

Al-Zawahiri pledged allegiance to Mullah Omar and called on all his followers to reject animosity and differences and come together under Mullah Omar's banner.

Mullah Omar is the elusive, shadowy Taliban leader who slipped away in the early days of the war in Afghanistan. The Taliban held Afghanistan with an ultra-conservative government and sheltered al Qaeda.

Calling the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan, allied with the United States, "traitors," al-Zawahiri warned that the United States "is about to depart and abandon them, just as it abandoned their like in Vietnam."

But al-Zawahiri did not reserve his venom only for the "Crusaders" and "Zionists." He also targeted the "charlatans" of Islam, saying their "long beards, huge turbans, majestic titles, purported lineages and popular myths are no substitute for the truth."

He called on Palestinians to drop their secular government and instead govern themselves by Sharia (Islamic) law.

"A sovereign government will only be achieved if you liberate Palestine from the Jews and their agents, and only if you set up a government which rules by Sharia," he said. "Otherwise, the soap opera of embargoes and pursuits and killings and denunciations will just go on and on."

Al-Zawahiri's latest message - like his last released January 22 -- had harsh words for President Bush and the United States.

Al-Zawahiri said Bush was "addicted to drinking, lying and gambling" and that "the American people are the ones who chose him twice, out of greed for the Muslims' treasures and in animosity to them."

"That's why the intelligent person does not absolve them, the British people and all peoples of the Crusader Alliance from responsibility, for they are the ones who elected Bush, Blair and their allies and supported them in their aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq," he said.

Al-Zawahiri also took aim at Democrats, directing a part of his message to them.

"The people chose you due to your opposition to Bush's policy in Iraq, but it appears that you are marching with him to the same abyss, and it appears that you will take part with him in the defeat and certain failure, with God's permission," he said.

"And the American people shall discover that you are all one side of the same coin of tyranny, criminality and failure."
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