Laden Deputy: U.S. Losing Afghanistan
34 minutes ago
By SARAH EL DEEB, Associated Press Writer
CAIRO, Egypt - In a videotape made public ahead of the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Osama bin Laden's chief deputy claimed Thursday the United States was on the brink of defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan
With an assault rifle leaning on the wall behind him, Ayman al-Zawahri said, "The defeat of America in Iraq and Afghanistan has become a matter of time, with God's help. ...The Americans in both countries are between two fires, if they continue they bleed to death and if they withdrew they loose everything."
The videotape was broadcast by Al-Jazeera television, which said it received the tape exclusively. It was not immediately clear how Al-Jazeera got the video, but the network said it was obtained Thursday.
Bin Laden's al-Qaida network carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, prompting Washington to move against Afghanistan's Taliban regime, which had sheltered bin Laden. The Taliban was driven from power in late 2001.
In March 2003, President Bush sent troops into Iraq, saying Saddam Hussein's regime had weapons of mass destruction and supported al-Qaida. An American-led coalition drove Saddam from power the next month; some 130,000 U.S. troops remain in the country battling an Iraqi insurgency.
Bin Laden and al-Zawahri are believed hiding along the Afghan-Pakistan border. They also issued video and audiotapes around last year's anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, including one on Sept. 10, 2003, that showed the two men walking through rocky terrain. Two taped messages accompanied that video, including one in which bin Laden's praised the "great damage to the enemy" done on Sept. 11.
In recent months, southern and eastern Afghanistan have been wracked by fierce resistance to U.S. military forces, and there have been frequent attacks on Afghan election workers preparing for an Oct. 9 presidential vote.
U.S. military officials in Afghanistan could not be reached for comment on the new videotape, but American commanders insist they have Taliban remnants and al-Qaida on the defensive.
No Afghan provincial government is considered in jeopardy, and Afghan and U.S. forces largely controlled the country.
In excerpts broadcast by Al-Jazeera, al-Zawahri said: "The Americans are huddled in their trenches, refusing to come out to confront the holy warriors despite the holy warriors' provoking them by shelling, shooting and cutting the routes around them, and their defense concentrates on strikes from the air which wastes America's money in kicking up dust."
He also said the peacekeeping force in Afghanistan has been "burnt by the shells of the holy warriors and expect martyrdom operations all the time, with God's help."
The most recent previous statement purported to have been made by al-Zawahri surfaced June 11, when an audiotape believed to be that of the al-Qaida No. 2 was broadcast by Al-Arabiya TV. On it, the speaker said a U.S. plan for reform in the Middle East was really a bid to replace Arab leaders.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said recently that he considers infighting among pro-government warlords a larger threat to his nation's stability than that posed by the remnants of the Taliban regime.
Bastards... You think we'll let take this quietly, especially when you released this two day before the third anniversary of 9/11? We'll not only stop all of your plans and your so-called sleeper cells, but we will find you, and when we do you sorry son of a bitch...