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Sunday, 19 August, 2001, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK
Taleban call for Muslim support
Independence Day parade in Kabul
A military parade was held to mark the day
By Afghanistan correspondent Kate Clark

The Taleban have been celebrating Afghanistan's independence day, with a military parade in the capital Kabul.

They used the occasion to appeal to Muslim countries to support them, while warning that what they called "infidel conspiracies" against Muslims and Afghans were doomed to failure.

Infidels are plotting against Muslims and Afghans but their conspiracies are doomed to failure

Independence Day banner
The Taleban's supreme leader, Mullah Omar, has called on the Muslim world to support his government, saying it was defending Islamic values and Afghan sovereignty.

But only three states in the world, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, recognise the Taleban Government.

Most Muslim states find the Taleban's brand of Islam far too extreme to countenance, nor can they support their fight against fellow Afghan Muslims in the civil war.

Nevertheless the Taleban are portraying recent events in Kabul as a call to arms for the entire Islamic world.

Foreigners arrested

Two weeks ago they arrested eight foreign aid workers, and 16 of their Afghan staff, accusing them of preaching Christianity.

Seized documents
The foreigners were accused of propagating Christianity
They said the discovery of the alleged plot was a victory for Muslims everywhere.

The Taleban have also portrayed United Nations sanctions as a plot against Islam itself. They say any attack on the Taleban is motivated by hatred of the faith.

The sanctions which are intended to force the Taleban to hand over the Saudi militant Osama Bin Laden includes a travel ban on senior officials, an arms embargo, which has not even been monitored yet, and a ban on international flights, the only economic measure.

Two large banners put up in Kabul for independence day spelt out the Taleban's message to the world.

"Infidels are plotting against Muslims and Afghans" said one, "but their conspiracies are doomed to failure."

The other warned that Afghanistan was a graveyard for invaders and colonialists.

See also:

12 Aug 01 | South Asia
Taleban 'investigate' aid workers
06 Aug 99 | South Asia
Osama bin Laden: America's most wanted
09 Aug 01 | South Asia
Taleban ease foreigner restrictions
03 Aug 98 | South Asia
Analysis: Who are the Taleban?
03 Aug 98 | South Asia
Afghanistan: 20 years of bloodshed
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