Taliban say Bin Laden death will give ‘new impetus’ to fight against ‘invaders’
In their first substantive reaction to the killing of Osama Bin Laden the Taliban said on Friday the death of the Al-Qaeda founder would give “a new impetus” to the fight against foreign “invaders” in Afghanistan, Agence France-Presse reported.
The movement added that the killing of Mr. Bin Laden by US Special Forces would “lead hundreds more to the field of martyrdom and sacrifice.”
It had previously only said it was “premature” to comment on the death in a statement on Tuesday which seemed to cast doubt on whether Bin Laden had been killed.
The term “invaders” has special significance in Afghanistan because it embraces an aspect of history that Afghans of all persuasions are proud of: their country has been invaded from time to time by powers such as Britain and the erstwhile Soviet Union, but the invaders were always defeated by the harsh terrain, the ungovernability of Afghan society, and the fierce determination of Afghans to remain free of a foreign yoke.
The Taliban comments came as Al-Qaeda confirmed Bin Laden’s death but warned that those celebrating his killing would have their “blood mixed with tears” and vowed the movement would live on, the US monitoring group SITE Intelligence reported.
In a statement posted on jihadist Internet forums on Friday Al-Qaeda said, “We… pledge to Allah the Almighty and ask His help, support and steadfastness to continue on the path of jihad, the path walked upon by our leaders, and on top of them, Sheikh Osama,” SITE said, quoting the statement.
“We also stress that the blood of the mujahid Sheikh Osama bin Laden, may Allah have mercy upon him, weighs more to us and is more precious to us and to every Muslim than to be wasted in vain,” it said.
“We call upon our Muslim people in Pakistan, on whose land Sheikh Osama was killed, to rise up and revolt to cleanse this shame that has been attached to them by a clique of traitors and thieves who sold everything to the enemies,” the statement continued.
“(We call upon them) to rise up strongly and in general to cleanse their country (Pakistan) from the filth of the Americans who spread corruption in it,” said the statement.
The statement came after US President Barack Obama said that American commandos killed Bin Laden on Sunday in a covert operation in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad.
Soon after President Obama’s announcement, the Shumukh al-Islam forum, which had been a conduit for Al-Qaeda announcements, had asked users to wait for confirmation of his death, but many had posted threats against the US to avenge the killing.
On Friday, Mr. Obama said that US troops would start pulling out of Afghanistan in July 2011. The announcement was expected.
The latest statement promised that America and those who live in the US “will never enjoy security until our people in Palestine enjoy it.”
The formal Qaeda statement came four days after the Al-Qaeda branch in Mr. Bin Laden’s ancestral home of Yemen said they had confirmation through their contacts in Pakistan that he had been killed.
Saudi and Yemeni Al-Qaeda branches, which merged in January 2009 to form the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), said on Monday that Mr. Bin Laden had been “killed.”
“This news has been a catastrophe for us. At first we did not believe it, but we got in touch with our brothers in Pakistan who have confirmed it,” said an AQAP member reached by telephone.
(Mustapha Ajbaili of Al Arabiya can be reached at: [email protected])