Al-Qaida Releases New Video

Friday, February 16th 2007, 6:46 am
By: News On 6

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Al-Qaida posted Friday a video showing what it claimed to be an insurgent attack on a military position of U.S. and Afghan forces in southern Afghanistan.

The video appears to be an attempt by the terrorist network to disparage U.S. claims to be winning the war against the Taliban and allied militia in Afghanistan. It argues that the people of Afghanistan support the insurgents and provide physical assistance to their attacks on U.S.-Afghan forces.

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, calling it a ``barefaced lie.''

Al-Zawahri, who speaks in Arabic with an English translation in subtitles, seems to be referring to a Bush 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.''

With a narrator speaking in American-accented English, the tape then shows video film of what it claims is an attack on a military position in Arghandab, a district in Zabul province, 100 miles northeast of the southern city of Kandahar.

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

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 NATO-led troops and Afghan forces were ambushed by suspected Taliban militants on the road between Arghandab and Qalat, the provincial capital.

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

The authenticity of the scenes shown could not be verified. The video carried the logo of the al-Qaida media production company, as-Sahab, and it was posted on an Islamic Web site known for hosting extremist material.

Al-Qaida appeared to have issued the tape on Thursday with the title ``Holocaust of the Americans in the land of Khorasan, the Islamic emirate: Capture of an American post, Arghandab.'' The name Khorasan refers to Afghanistan.

The video shows the insurgents firing at the alleged post but their weapons cannot be discerned because it is night. Tracer bullets cross the sky, fire is returned and one sees explosions of what are said to be rocket-propelled grenades.

``After a fierce battle, the mujahideen (holy warriors) begin their retreat from the zone of operations,'' the narrator says in English. The tape quotes a fighter as saying: ``We retreated after about 45 minutes of fighting.''

In the day time footage, the video shows a dusty compound of single-story buildings which were once occupied by Americans soldiers. Scrawled on the walls are words such as: ``Scalp Hunters,'' ``CPT ASHWOKTH UTAH. N6 '06 ETT,'' and ``Spc Smith Commo US Army 2006.''

ETT stands for Embedded Training Teams _ the U.S. and other Western soldiers who serve as mentors to the Afghan security forces.

The English-speaking narrator says the camera is going around ``the liberated area to bring us pictures from inside the cleansed military bases.''

An empty packet of Lay's potato chips is found and the camera focuses on the name of the Saudi manufacturer, Saudi Snack Food Co. Ltd, as the narrator says: ``As is always the case in our tours of liberated bases, we find evidence that the primary financiers of this crusade are the puppet regimes of the Gulf.''

The video shows a beige, battle-wrecked pickup truck that has the number RTS323 on its hood. A small crowd of men stone the vehicle, as the narrator says: ``The mujahideen and local residents celebrate the victory in their own special way.''

An Afghan with a white beard and black turban, purportedly a resident of the nearby village, tells the camera what the foreigners were like: ``The people suffered a lot because of these devils. No one could leave his house, not even for absolutions and prayers. We couldn't even light a lamp at night. Thanks to Allah, the infidels have left.

``The people are very happy about the coming of the Taliban,'' he says.