Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden warned France on Wednesday that its ban on the veil in public places justified attacks against its nationals. In an audio recording aired by Al-Jazeera television, the Saudi born leader said last month's kidnapping of five French nationals in Africa was a warning.
Bin Laden called on France to pull its troops out of Afghanistan. "As you wrongly have decided that you have the right to ban Muslim women from wearing the veil, is it not our right to drive out your conquerors by killing them?" he asked.
"The kidnapping of your experts in Niger... is in retaliation for the tyranny you practice against our Muslim nation.
"How is it possible to interfere in the affairs of Muslims, especially in north and west Africa, and support your agents against us and exploit much of our resources via suspect transactions while our people there suffer from poverty and misery," he said in the speech, which lasted 1 minute 55 seconds.
The Al-Qaeda leader warned the French government that continuation of its role in the NATO force in Afghanistan would rebound on domestic security. "The way to protect your security is to bring your tyranny against our nation to an end, most importantly to withdraw from the damned war of (former US president George W.) Bush in Afghanistan," he said in the message."