Bin Laden Pledges Allegiance to Afghanistan's Taliban Chief
Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden has pledged his allegiance to the reclusive leader of the ruling Taliban militia in Afghanistan, the Doha-based Al-Jazeera satellite television channel said Monday.
Bin Laden said in a speech to a meeting in northern Pakistan that he had "pledged allegiance to Mullah Mohammad Omar, commander of the believers."
The billionaire Saudi dissident also called on the people attending the meeting, organized by Muslim schools in the region, "to support the Islamic emirate in Afghanistan by all means."
"We must urge both the young to sacrifice their soul for Afghanistan by taking up jihad (Islamic holy war) and the rich to give their money to this emirate," Bin Laden said.
He also called on Muslim scholars to "issue fatwas (religious rulings) on the legitimacy of this emirate," at the same time welcoming Mullah Omar's destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in central Afghanistan last month.
The Taliban regime controls 90 percent of Afghan territory including the capital Kabul, forming a hardline Islamic state recognized only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Bin Laden, believed to have been hiding in Afghanistan since 1996, is wanted by Washington in connection with the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania which left 220 people dead – DOHA (AFP)
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