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Last Updated: Friday, 12 November, 2004, 17:20 GMT
Taleban leader in rallying call
A rare picture of Mullah Omar
Mullah Omar issues periodic messages rallying supporters
Reclusive Taleban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar has sent a new message to supporters, vowing to struggle for Afghanistan's "independence".

Mullah Omar sent a two-page message to the Afghan Islamic Press agency to mark the Muslim Eid ul Fitr festival.

He said the Taleban had "far greater unity, brotherhood and steadfastness than before".

Mullah Omar led the Taleban regime that ruled Afghanistan until it was overthrown by US-led forces in 2001.

His message comes on the third anniversary of the Taleban's flight from Kabul in as US-led forces marched on the city.

Mullah Omar said the jihad, or holy war, being fought by the Taleban was not aimed at "getting to power".

"If [the Taleban] wanted to secure power and material benefits, they could have made a deal with the Americans," he said.

Eluding capture

The religious leader condemned the United States for "atheist" policies that led Afghans "astray by different methods and different plans such as the loya jirga (grand tribal council), the constitution and the election process".

I will not let you and your hopes down. I will not leave a shameful history as a legacy for our future generations
Mullah Omar

He called this "fake democracy".

The Taleban vowed to disrupt the recent presidential elections in Afghanistan.

During campaigning they carried out a number of attacks on election workers.

However, their threat to disrupt polling day never materialised.

In Mullah Omar's latest message he again rounded on President Hamid Karzai:

"The puppet administration and agents are installed to destroy the courage and belief of the Afghans, their fate and their morally clean society."

Mullah Omar has managed to elude capture despite the hunt by thousands of US-led forces.

There have been sporadic reports of sightings, including one in Quetta, south-west Pakistan, in November last year, but nothing substantiated.

He is believed to be hiding in the mountainous region along the Afghan-Pakistan border, as is al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

Bin Laden himself delivered an anti-US message recently, shortly before the US presidential election.

Mullah Omar said that the US "should know that we are determined to win the independence of our country".

He added: "I will not let you and your hopes down. I will not leave a shameful history as a legacy for our future generations."

Mullah Omar has periodically issued taped messages urging his followers to maintain their attacks on Western forces.


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