Video: New al-Qaida video

updated 2/16/2007 1:57:02 PM ET 2007-02-16T18:57:02

Al-Qaida posted a video Friday showing what it claimed to be an insurgent attack on U.S. and Afghan forces in Afghanistan, in an apparent attempt to disparage American claims of winning the war against the Taliban.

The video argues that the Afghan people support the insurgents and assist their attacks on U.S.-Afghan forces, and it comes as the United States and Britain deploy more troops to the country after the worst year of insurgency-related violence since the Taliban regime was overthrown in 2001.

The 24-minute video carries the logo of the al-Qaida media company, as-Sahab, and was posted on an Islamic Web site known for hosting extremist material. It was titled “Holocaust of the Americans in the land of Khorasan, the Islamic emirate: Capture of an American post, Arghandab.” Khorasan refers to Afghanistan.

The tape begins with the deputy leader of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahri, ridiculing President Bush’s claim to have deprived al-Qaida of a safe haven in Afghanistan as a “barefaced lie.”

Al-Zawahri, who speaks in Arabic with an English translation in subtitles, seems to be referring to Bush’s speech on Jan. 10 when the president said that U.S. forces “took away al-Qaida’s safe haven in Afghanistan — and we will not allow them to re-establish it in Iraq.”

American narrator?
With a narrator speaking in American-accented English, the tape shows video of a purported attack on a military position in Arghandab, a district 100 miles northeast of the city of Kandahar.

The narrator, who sounds like the American al-Qaida member Adam Gadahn, claims that the position is “liberated” by the insurgents. The film does not show the insurgents capturing the target — a compound of mud-plastered buildings in a valley — during the nighttime battle. It only shows the insurgents walking through the compound in daylight.

“It is very likely that this base was voluntarily abandoned by coalition and Afghan forces, and that this (tape) is al-Qaida trying to capitalize on a coalition tactical retreat,” said Evan Kohlman, an analyst at the U.S.-based globalterroralert.com.

The authenticity of the scenes shown could not be verified. When asked about the video, the district chief of Arghandab, Fazel Bari, told The Associated Press that the only recent clash in that area was last month when suspected Taliban militants ambushed a NATO and Afghan force on the road between Arghandab and Qalat.

Bari said the NATO and Afghan troops suffered no casualties, but they detained one man after the battle, which ended with the Taliban retreating.

More sophisticated marketing
The video was first obtained by IntelCenter, a U.S. group that tracks extremist messages. IntelCenter said the tape represented a “significant step up” in al-Qaida’s video marketing. It was more than twice as long as previous operational videos, and it was distributed in two versions — Arabic with English subtitles and another with an English voiceover.

An Afghan with a white beard and black turban tells the camera that local residents suffered under the foreign “devils.”

“No one could leave his house, not even for absolutions and prayers. We couldn’t even light a lamp at night ... The people are very happy about the coming of the Taliban,” he says.

Ali Mohammed Jan Aurakzai, the governor of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province, which includes areas where many Taliban and al-Qaida militants fled after the 2001 war, claimed Friday that local populations are increasingly supporting the Taliban, frustrated by lack of influence in Kabul and insufficient economic aid.

“Today, they’ve reached the stage that a lot of the local population has started supporting the militant operations and it is developing into some sort of a nationalist movement, a resistance movement, sort of a liberation war against coalition forces,” Aurakzai said at a news conference.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and some U.S. military officials have suggested that Pakistani security forces are secretly aiding militants crossing into Afghanistan to mount attacks.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has rejected the charge as “preposterous,” pointing to the deaths of hundreds of Pakistani soldiers in operations against militants on its side of the mountainous frontier.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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