In a leaflet, which a Taliban spokesman said would be distributed across Afghanistan, the group accuses the US of trying to dictate the future of Afghanistan. "They want to impose their slaves and puppets on the proud nation of holy warriors."

The group called for a holy war against the US, which it said was using the "war on terror" as a pretext for a war on Islam. 

"America and Bush at the top of it, who is the pharaoh of the present age, and the Jewish Zionists have started the very covert war against the Islamic world under the name of the war against terror," which it said was in revenge for Western defeat in the Crusades.The

UN worker killed

Meanwhile, a Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the killing of a French UN worker. Bettina Goislard was shot dead in the town of Ghazni southwest of Kabul. She was the 12th aid worker to be killed since March.

The Taliban, in its leaflet, also accused US troops of committing acts of brutality and killing women and children in bombing raids. It said the troops knew Afghan customs but ignored them and did as they pleased.

A photograph showing a US soldier searching an Afghan woman was highlighted in the leaflet. The Taliban said the image showed that "wild Americans are forcing an innocent and pure Afghan girl to obey their demands." 
  
Violence

South and south east Afghanistan have been hard-hit by a surge in violence blamed on Taliban fighters who have increasingly targeted aid workers as well as US and Afghan troops.

The violence has claimed more than 350 lives since August, and has forced the UN to suspend road missions across much of south and southeast Afghanistan, where some aid agencies have already scaled back operations due to insecurity.