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Tuesday, 23 October, 2001, 00:43 GMT 01:43 UK
Mullah Omar offers condolences to Afghans
Pro Taleban supporters in Lahore, Pakistan shout anti-American slogans
Anti-American demonstrations have taken place in Pakistan
The spiritual leader of the Taleban in Afghanistan, Mullah Mohammed Omar, has issued a pre-recorded message in which he expresses his condolences to the families of those killed in the US strikes on Afghanistan and urges courage, patience and resistance.


Martyrdom is not death, but the beginning of an eternal happy life

"Before every thing else, I present condolences to those families in the country... whose family members have been martyred, wounded or had their homes destroyed as a result of the brutal US bombings," he said in the taped statement, read out by his chief spokesman Amir Khan Muttaqi and supplied to the BBC by the Afghan Islamic Press news agency.

Without touching on the death of his 10-year-old son in US strikes on the Taleban stronghold of Kandahar, Mullah Omar stressed that all Muslims should realise that martyrdom "is not death, but the beginning of an eternal happy life.

"Muslims should not lose patience and should not get tired on this path. They should use courage, patience and resistance because Muslims should believe in the fact that death happens once and no-one can be spared death."

Gratitude


I hope and believe that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will succeed over the cruel and aggressive Government of the United States

Mullah Omar also voiced his gratitude to "those Muslims of the world who have expressed opposition to the United States because of the savage attack by America against Afghanistan and have supported Islam".

And he went on to say he hoped and believed the Taleban would be victorious over the US-led forces.

"I hope and believe that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan - with the assistance of Almighty God and the help and prayers of the persecuted and sympathetic Muslims of the world - will succeed over the cruel and aggressive Government of the United States."

Divine assistance

Mullah Omar also praised what he said were recent victories by Taleban forces over the Northern Alliance as being a "clear sign of the assistance of Almighty God".


Jihad by the sword, by words and by the pen is now obligatory for all Muslims

And he urged Muslims around the world to defend themselves against what he said was in reality a US-led crusade against Islam.

"The words, which have been stated by US President Bush, that this is a war of Crusades against Muslims, is true," the Taleban leader said.

"Thus Muslims in every part of the world, in order to defend themselves, should continue their Islamic and Shari'ah activities," he said.

"Jihad by the sword, by words and by the pen is now obligatory for all Muslims of the world. They should fulfil this sacred obligation," he said.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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