October 23, 2006


In a lengthy message to Afghans for Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, Omar also urged NATO to withdraw its almost 20,000 troops and stop sacrificing soldiers for the United States, adding the nation still stood with him.

"With the grace of Allah, the fighting will be increased ... and it will be organised in the next few months," he said in a Pashto language message to media also posted on the Internet and signed "Leader of the Faithful in the Afghan Resistance".

"I am confident the fighting will be a surprise for many," said the one-eyed leader, with a $10 million (5.3 million pound) bounty on his head.

This has been the bloodiest year in Afghanistan since Omar's Islamist government was ousted by a U.S.-led invasion in 2001...

...Omar said President Hamid Karzai
would face Islamic justice for cooperating with Washington.

"The Kabul puppet regime has failed to establish peace and stability as well as to control narcotics," he said, adding members of the government were involved in the opium trade.

Officials and analysts say the Taliban is partly funded by drug lords underwriting fighting and insecurity to keep the police and the law from their poppy fields and smuggling routes.

Afghanistan supplies about 90 percent of the world's opium, the raw material for heroin, and its crop is expected to jump about 60 percent this year.

Talking to reporters after Eid prayers at the presidential palace, Karzai did not comment on Omar's message, but called on Afghans not to be swayed by the Taliban.

"My message to those who are being used by strangers and killing their people and their children, destroying their homes, my message is to free themselves from the grip of menace," he said. "That menace has been destroying Afghanistan for years.

"I ask them to come to their country and free themselves from being used by others and work to build their country not to destroy it."

A weekend deadline by the kidnappers of an Italian photojournalist in the south for the handover by Italy of an Afghan convert to Christianity from Islam passed with no word from them.

No comments: