Tuesday, September 25, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Defend Afghans, Laden urges Pakistanis

The signature of Osama bin Laden
The signature of exiled Saudi guerrilla leader Osama bin Laden appears on a faxed statement to Qatar's al-Jazeera satellite television on Monday. — Reuters photo

Dubai, September 24
Qatar’s al-Jazeera satellite television on Monday quoted Osama bin Laden as urging Pakistanis to fight any assault on Afghanistan by “crusader Americans”.

“We incite our Muslim brothers in Pakistan to deter with all their capabilities the American crusaders from invading Pakistan and Afghanistan,” the television reported him as saying in a statement.

“I assure you, dear brothers, that we are firm on the road of jihad (holy struggle) for the sake of God.”

The statement faxed to Jazeera was typed in Arabic, signed “Osama bin Laden” in typed letters and signed in handwriting by “Osama Mohammad”.

“The new Jewish crusader campaign is led by the biggest crusader Bush under the banner of the Cross,” the statement said in a reference to U.S. President George W. Bush.

Meanwhile, Afghan opposition forces have captured the town of Zari Bazar, some 100 km south of the strategic city of Mazar-i-Sharif, the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) quoted Taliban spokesman Abdul Hai Mutmaen as saying today.

A day earlier the opposition Northern Alliance and the forces of independent Gen Rashid Dostum said they had made advances toward the strategic town of Mazar-i-Sharif and added that they hoped to take it in the next few days.

The opposition forces seized Zari in Balkh province on Saturday night, the AIP said.

Afghanistan’s opposition forces have launched new attacks in three northern provinces and taken at least one district from the ruling Taliban movement, the Pakistan-based AIP said yesterday.

Confirming today that opposition forces had captured the town of Zaare near the strategic northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) quoted. Taliban spokesman Abdul Hai Mutmaen quoted as saying that Zaare had fallen to the opposition in heavy fighting. The spokesman, however, denied opposition claims to have taken over the nearby district of Keshanda, saying an assault on the area had been repulsed.

The Islamic militia’s Defence Minister, Mullah Obaidullah, said in a statement that 300,000 Afghans “experienced in jihad” or holy war, had been deployed in the capital, along the borders and “other important sites.” “We have instructed the whole mujahed nation to prepare themselves for jihad and wage holy war at any time they think is necessary”. Reuters, AFPBack

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