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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 December 2007, 16:31 GMT
Taleban chief taunts foreign foes
Mullah Mohammad Omar
Mullah Omar said the Taleban was getting stronger every day
Taleban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar has issued a statement taunting foreign forces over their capture of a strategic town in southern Afghanistan.

The fugitive leader said celebrating such a "minor victory" was "the biggest proof of their weakness".

He said his men would "not allow rest for invading forces" during the winter.

Last week UK, US and Afghan forces took the town of Musa Qala in Helmand province, which was the only major Afghan centre in Taleban hands.

Mullah Omar, who has been in hiding since the fall of the Taleban regime in 2001, is one of the most-wanted fugitives being hunted by US-led forces in Afghanistan.

'Aggressors suffering'

The statement, attributed to the Taleban leader and marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, was released to news agencies by the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press.

It said the foreign forces were "celebrating a partial occupation of the small district the way they did six years ago over occupation of Afghanistan".


He said that only the district headquarters and a few shops were occupied.

Mullah Omar said no foreign power had ever conquered Afghanistan, adding that the Taleban was getting stronger each day.

The Taleban will continue to fight throughout the harsh Afghan winter, said Mullah Omar, refuting reports of any rift in his organisation.

"The aggression by the Americans and their allies against Afghanistan and Iraq brought with it economic and financial losses that affected not just occupied states - the aggressors are also suffering," Mr Omar said.

"International institutions and all countries, especially Muslim states, should find ways for the evacuation of aggressor forces, and... help form a permanent and independent government," the statement said.

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