WASHINGTON: Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri urged Afghans in audio message Wednesday to rise up against “Crusader pigs” after US Marines were shown in an Internet video urinating on the corpses of Taliban militants.
The message, which the US-based SITE Intelligence Group said was posted on extremist forums, keyed on a series of scandals in Afghanistan that have sent US-Afghan tensions soaring.
The message from the Al Qaeda leader makes reference to the inadvertent burning of Qurans by US soldiers, which set off riots and attacks on Americans, and an earlier video showing Marines urinating on the bloodied bodies of insurgents.
It made no mention of a massacre of 16 Afghan civilians by a US soldier in southern Afghanistan, which has further complicated relations between Washington and Kabul and prompted calls for an accelerated withdrawal of foreign forces.
“Allah disclosed the Americans through the tape that appeared on the Internet showing the Crusader pigs of the Marines as they urinated on the body of an Afghan mujahed, may the vast mercy of Allah be upon him,” Zawahiri said in Arabic in his audio speech, according to a SITE translation.
“This is their view towards other people in general and the Muslims in particular, and this is their way of treating us.”
The Marine video set off a military investigation amid concerns it would be used as a recruiting tool by Afghan insurgents.
Appealing to Afghans’ pride, Zawahiri asked how they will respond when their children ask what they did to those who insulted the Quran, mocked the Prophet Muhammed, killed their fellow countrymen and urinated on their bodies.
The Al Qaeda chief said the proper response would be to join the insurgency led by the Taliban and Al Qaeda against foreign troops.
“O honorable, strong Afghan, the path is now clear and the way is shown, so either you stand under the banner of Islam as a mujahed and a helper to the mujahedeen with your hand, tongue, opinion, money and heart, or you will face the humiliation of the world and the shame of the hereafter,” he said.
“You saw with your own eyes how the Crusaders look at you and what your value is to them.