Taliban chief calls for unity against US

The leader of Afghanistan's Taliban fighters has called on people to unite and join them in a holy war against US-led forces in the country.

    Mullah Omar has been on the run since 2001

    Mullah Mohammad Omar, in a statement faxed to news organisations in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, said the Taliban would intensify their war against foreign forces.

    "The people of Afghanistan and the Taliban should unite against US and allied forces and intensify their jihad against the foreign occupiers," Omar said in the statement.

    The statement was issued on Friday, apparently to mark the end of the Muslim fasting month.

    Taliban officials, contacted and questioned about its veracity over the weekend, said it was genuine.

    Omar's whereabouts have been a mystery since US-led forces ousted the Taliban in late 2001, after they refused to hand over Osama bin Ladin, architect of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

    Omar and Bin Ladin are believed to be hiding out somewhere along the rugged Afghan-Pakistan border.

    'Infidel forces'

    Omar said in his statement "infidel forces" were trying to capture Muslim countries and make Muslims their slaves. They had committed atrocities against Muslims in Afghanistan, he said.

    He also said Afghans had rejected a presidential election last year and parliamentary elections in September.

    "The Taliban are not weak in Afghanistan. We will speed up our jihad"

    Mullah Mohammad Omar,
    Taliban leader

    "The people of Afghanistan rejected the parliamentary and presidential elections but they are showing those elections as a success," Omar said.

    "The Taliban are not weak in Afghanistan. We will speed up our jihad," he said.

    The Taliban have stepped up attacks this year but they failed to disrupt the September elections.

    More than 1100 people have been killed in violence this year, most of them militants but including more than 50 US soldiers.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.