Jim Krane / Associated Press – 2005-08-10 08:51:35
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (August 10, 2005) — A purported al-Qaida video shows militants in Afghanistan — including Europeans, Arabs and others — preparing to attack US troops and showing off what they said was a US military laptop.
The video, parts of which have been shown by Al-Arabiya television, including a segment aired Tuesday, features interviews with a masked man yelling “As you bomb, you will be bombed” and shows a group of men packing explosives into bombs.
The authenticity of the videotape could not be confirmed. US air force Capt. Lennea Montandon, a spokeswoman for the US Central Command in Qatar, said the military would not comment because it had not seen the broadcast.
If authentic, the program would be the latest attempt by the al-Qaida network to use the broadcast media and Internet to promote its cause.
The three-part video, titled The War of the Oppressed People, depicts what appears to be a few months in the lives of a group of fighters in wilderness camps in the Afghan mountains.
The men cook tea over campfires and kneel in prayer under the open skies, then duck into a makeshift classroom where an instructor outlines the coming “operation to defeat the crucifix” against US and allied forces.
In one scene, the tape claims al-Qaida was responsible for shooting down a US Chinook helicopter, killing all 16 American troops on board.
The tape features an appearance by top-ranking al-Qaida member Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, as well as shots of a US air force A-10 jet making bombing runs on a mountainside, and a closeup of a US soldier quivering face down on the ground.
Al-Iraqi, speaking with a scarf hiding his face, says the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have created “two fronts” for recruiting fighters to the cause of Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar. “Now all the world is united behind Mullah Omar and Sheik Osama,” he says.
The program includes interviews with fighters claiming they are avenging the killing of Muslims by the US, Britain, Israel and India.
“If this is terrorism and fundamentalism, then OK, we are terrorists and fundamentalists,” a Pakistani man who identifies himself as Bilal says in Urdu.
The tapes feature a diatribe by a British-or Australian-accented man wearing a black robe, AK-47 and military-style vest, who warns westerners of “the lies of (British Prime Minister Tony) Blair and (US President George W.) Bush.”
“The Muslim world is not your backyard,” he yells. “The honourable sons of Islam will not let you kill our sons. It is time for us to be equals. As you kill, you will be killed. As you bomb, you will be bombed.”
One grisly segment shows a dead soldier lying face up, his bearded face caked in blood. The soldier, perhaps an Afghan, is dressed in green camouflage fatigues with a red shoulder patch. The insurgents display his rifle, an American M-16.
In another scene, a group of bombmakers slices white bricks of plastic explosive, packing them into cooking oil cans along with heavy steel bolts and gobs of glue.
Green-hued night footage shows the men digging holes at the roadside and planting the bombs.
Later, shaky footage follows a blue sport utility vehicle as it travels along a remote dirt road. Text on the bottom of the screen says the car is carrying the head of security for Afghanistan’s Kunar province.
Without warning the vehicle is ripped apart in a giant fireball. The attack appears to depict the June 28 roadside bombing that killed a district police chief and two other officers.
Yet another scene pans across a cache of captured U.S. gear, including a laptop, an M-16, military radios, a global positioning satellite display and the ID card of slain navy SEAL Danny Dietz.
Dietz, 25, of Littleton, Colo., was killed June 28 after his four-man reconnaissance team came under attack in Kunar province. The Chinook helicopter was downed and the 16 troops killed as the craft was on its way to aid Dietz, killing all aboard.
An insurgent is shown going through the laptop’s hard drive, zooming in on a US military document marked “For Official Use Only” and a map of Kabul marked with the locations of the US and British embassies.
The film is subtitled in Arabic, but carries interviews in English, French, Pashto and Urdu, as well as Arabic spoken with Yemeni, Saudi and Iraqi accents.
Baker Atyani, Al-Arabiya’s Asia bureau chief, said the network received the tape last week, but would not say how or where it was delivered.
© The Canadian Press, 2005
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