Bin Laden urges Europe to pull forces from Afghanistan
Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden called on Europeans to stop helping the United States in the war in Afghanistan, according to excerpts of a new audiotape broadcast Thursday on Al-Jazeera television.
Bin Laden said he was the "only one responsible" for the Sept. 11, 2001,attacks on New York and Washington, saying it was unjust for the United States to have invaded Afghanistan.
"The events of Manhattan were retaliation against the American-Israeli alliance's aggression against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, and I am the only one responsible for it.
"The Afghan people and government knew nothing about it. America knows that," he said.
"Europe went along with it [the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan] because they had no other alternative, only to be a follower," he said.
Bin Laden urged Europeans to pull away from the fight in Afghanistan.
"It is better for you to stand against your leaders who are dropping in on the White House, and to work seriously to lift the injustice against the believers," he said, accusing U.S. forces and their allies of intentionally killing women and children in Afghanistan.
Al-Jazeera aired two brief excerpts of a few seconds each of the audiotape, titled "Message to the European Peoples," which al-Qaeda had announced Monday that it would release soon.
Bin Laden issued four public statements earlier this year — on Sept. 7, Sept. 11, Sept. 20 and Oct. 22. The Sept. 7 video was the al-Qaeda leader's first in three years and was issued to mark the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The U.S.-led coalition invaded Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks because the Taliban regime was sheltering bin Laden — who eluded coalition troops and is believed to be hiding along the Afghan-Pakistan frontier.