Al-Qaeda's deputy also said Hezbollah and its leaders  did not gain victory in the war against Israel in 2006, saying that outcome had been beneficial to Israel.

"The most bizarre and astounding thing is that Hassan Nasrallah [Hezbollah's leader] celebrates a victory every year.

"What victory?" he said. "Retreating 30 miles backwards?" he said.

Kabul government 'weaker'

Al-Zawahiri also accused Lebanon's leaders of following in the footsteps of Washington and its "agent Arab regimes".

The video called for a continued jihad (struggle) to liberate Palestine and re-establish the Muslim Umma, and denounced the positions adopted by the Muslim and Arab states against the siege imposed on the Palestinians - namely the closure of Gaza Strip's border crossing points.

The tape said Afghanistan's government was getting weaker and frailer and that the former Pakistani president, Pervez Musharraf, had "swallowed the fruit of his betrayal" by resigning in August.

The video message said the jihad in Iraq was still up-and-running and showed interviews with an Iraqi scholar describing the country's Awakening Councils, which turned against al-Qaeda and joined sides with US-led and Iraqi troops, as "treacherous", and "doomed".

One al-Qaeda leader, Abu Yahia Al-Liby, also praised "victories" by the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia, where the network claimed the number of young fighters was surging.