/ 28 September 2009

Al-Qaeda leader promises ‘flood of death’ in Afghanistan

Al-Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri told United States-led forces to leave Afghanistan or face a ”flood of death” in the central Asian country.

Zawahri, in a message posted on Islamist websites on Monday, eulogised Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud killed by US forces last month and warning of revenge.

The Egyptian militant Zawahri, thought to be in hiding in mountainous territory close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, is heard speaking in the 28-minute video.

”You have killed Baitullah … and he went to his God a martyr as we assume, but you have not killed Islam or jihad,” Zawahri said in the message. ”I warn you of a flood of death and wounds in Afghanistan and Pakistan with help from God, which will not end until you escape or until your demise.”

Mehsud, leader of the Pakistan Taliban, was killed by US forces in a missile strike in the Pakistani region of South Waziristan on August 5.

It was the latest in a flurry of messages from the leaders of al-Qaeda, who masterminded the September 11 2001 attacks that killed nearly 3 000 people in the US and who have evaded capture despite a large dragnet.

Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born leader of the Islamist group, urged European nations to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan in a tape issued on September 25.

On September 23 Zawahri appeared in an elaborate 106-minute video production marking the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, in which he blasted Arab leaders and US President Barack Obama for their policies on Israel.

On September 14, Bin Laden ”addressed the American people” in an 11-minute tape over their government’s ties to Israel.

Islamist websites have also carried two videos in which an al-Qaeda figure, identified by the German Interior Ministry as German-Moroccan Bekkay Harrach, said Berlin would pay a price if voters backed a government that supports the Afghan deployment.

A conservative bloc led by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union won German elections on Sunday.

Zawahri again called on foreign forces to leave Muslim countries, singling out Germany, and attacked Obama, who has appealed to the Muslim world, as a ”charlatan”.

”I am surprised at the Germans who had been defeated by the Americans and the English in World War II, then they looted and colonised them and now the force them to die in their stead in a war that is doomed to fail,” he said.

”Then their prime minister lies to them saying that sending German forces is necessary to preserve international peace and security …”

”International security and peace will not be achieved unless you leave the countries of Muslims and stop interfering in their affairs and looting their wealth,” he said. — Reuters