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Friday, 13 September, 2002, 05:16 GMT 06:16 UK
Taleban leader 'will free Afghanistan'
Mullah Omar [l] with followers in northern Afghanistan
Mullah Omar's whereabouts remain unknown
Arabic television station al-Jazeera says it has received a statement from ousted Taleban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar in which he has vowed to continue fighting until Afghanistan is "liberated".

Osama Bin Laden
A few days ago al-Jazeera broadcast comments reportedly by Bin Laden
The Qatar-based TV station, which has previously broadcast videotaped statements by al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, showed an unclear printed statement that appeared to be in Arabic. It said it was issued on 11 September this year.

"He [Omar] warned that holy struggle would continue until Afghanistan is liberated and Islamic teachings were re-installed," al-Jazeera said in a news bulletin.

The station told Reuters news agency that the statement from Mullah Omar, the spiritual leader of Afghanistan's former Taleban regime, appeared to be genuine, compared with previous statements.

US accused

Mullah Omar also reportedly accuses the US of being "arrogant and simple minded".

11 September hijacker Abdulaziz al-Omari
Hijacker Abdulaziz al-Omari read out his will on one broadcast tape

The statement says the US disregarded human rights, referring to the revolt by Taleban prisoners at the Qala-e-Jhangi prison fort near the Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif last November.

Hundreds of prisoners and one American CIA agent were killed in the carnage as the uprising was crushed by Northern Alliance forces backed by US and British special forces.

Mullah Omar also claims in the statement that the US had planned to attack Afghanistan before the 11 September attacks.

He said the US had launched military operations in the country, before even knowing for certain who was responsible for the attacks, al-Jazeera reported.

Unsubstantiated sightings

The broadcast comes only days after al-Jazeera broadcast excerpts from a recorded statement purportedly by Osama Bin Laden and a will of one of the 11 September hijackers, Abdulaziz al-Omari.

The tape features a voice reading out the names of all 19 of the hijackers involved in the 11 September attacks. BBC correspondents say the voice is very similar to that of Osama Bin Laden.

The whereabouts of both Mullah Omar and Osama Bin Laden, accused by the US of being the masterminds behind the 11 September attacks in New York and Washington, are currently unknown.

Mullah Omar is said to have escaped from his hideout in southern Afghanistan on a motorbike with four sympathisers in January this year following US airstrikes.

There have since been a number of unsubstantiated sightings of the former Taleban leader, the most recent being in August when a senior Afghan official said he had been seen in various southern provinces of the country.

The BBC's Mike Wooldridge
"Hamid Karzai believes Mullah Omar is still alive"
Al-Jazeera's Nasser Al-Padri
"The message was received in the form of a fax"

Key stories

European probe


See also:

18 Sep 01 | South Asia
17 May 02 | South Asia
08 Sep 02 | Middle East
10 Sep 02 | Middle East
06 Sep 02 | Middle East
08 Aug 02 | Middle East
01 Feb 02 | Middle East
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