Al-Zawahiri criticizes Musharraf, calls Pakistanis to jihad

Other News Materials 11 August 2008 22:07 (UTC +04:00)

Al-Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri has released his first English-language audio tape, criticizing Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, according to reports Monday. ( dpa )

The audio message was produced by al-Sahab, a pro-al-Qaeda production house, and aired on Pakistan's ARY channel as reported by Qatar-based al-Jazeera and US news channel CNN.

The director of ARY was quoted on al-Jazeera's website as saying that some parts of the tape were omitted because they were too sensitive and contained personal attacks.

Al-Zawahiri, who called Pakistanis for "jihad" said "Let there be no doubt in your minds that the dominant political forces at work in Pakistan today are competing to appease and please the modern crusaders in the White House, and are working to destabilize this nuclear capable nation under the aegis of America.

"Pervez has insulted and compromised Pakistan's sovereignty by allowing the CIA and the FBI to operate freely in Pakistan and arrest, interrogate, torture, deport and detain any person whether Pakistani or not, for as long as they like, thus turning the Pakistani army and security agencies into hunting dogs in the contemporary crusade," said al-Zawahiri on the tape.

The Egyptian-born al-Qaeda leader spoke in English as he cannot speak Urdu.

On the tape al-Zawahri condemned Pakistan's army chief, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, calling him "a hostile enemy of Islam."

"Every soldier and officer should absolutely disobey any order to kill Muslims or aid their killers."

In Egypt, al-Zawahiri and his brother Muhammad al-Zawahiri were sentenced to death for their leading role in anti-Egyptian government attacks in the 90s.

In the United States al-Zawahiri is under indictment for his role in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. The US is offering a reward of up to 25 million dollars for information about his whereabouts.