Al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri has praised Taliban leader Mullah Omar for winning back control of large regions of Afghanistan and urged Muslims to wage holy war against the West, according to a tape that surfaced on Sunday.
The tape, which is about 48 minutes long, was believed to have been made at about the same time as the last tape attributed to al-Zawahri — a Sept. 19 video.
The latest tape, which could not be immediately authenticated, was obtained by IntelCenter, a government contractor that does support work for the U.S. intelligence community.
In it, al-Zawahri credited Mullah Omar with leading a three-year campaign "against the Crusaders and apostates in Afghanistan" and taking control of "extensive parts of eastern and western Afghanistan."
The hard-line Taliban regime was toppled by U.S.-led forces in late 2001 when it refused to turn over al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and stop offering a haven to the group following the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States.
The latest tape was also a rallying call to Muslims to attack Western interests. "The key to victory is in our hands, and in turn, the primary cause of defeat is in ourselves," it said.