Osama denies involvement
Muhammad Najeeb in Islamabad - 12 September 2001
Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden has denied involvement in the United States terror attacks, but justified the killing of thousands in Washington and New York as "reaction against oppressors".
A statement carried by the Pakistani Urdu newspaper Ausaf quoted bin Laden, who lives in Afghanistan, as saying, "I don't have any link to the US attacks, but I second it as it is the reaction against oppressors."
The story by Ausaf editor Hamid Mir said bin Laden's statement was read out to him by a Laden special envoy who translated it from Arabic to Urdu.
Laden, the daily said, appreciated those who committed Tuesday's horrendous terrorist attacks in the U.S. He added, however, that the majority of those dead were innocent people.
"But those being killed in Palestine are also innocent. Who cares about those innocent people? The terrorist US is fully behind those killings."
Bin Laden, accused by Washington of carrying out deadly bombings of US embassies in Africa in 1998, also warned the United States against attacking him in Afghanistan.
"The US will be in more danger if they tried to kill me. If they will kill one Osama, hundreds of Osamas will stand against them."
He said he was on a "holy mission" and would soon complete it. He said his mission was to liberate Palestine from Jews. "I promise to fulfil my mission with the help of my followers."
Bin Laden also claimed that thousands of Muslim youths were committed to stand by him. "They are even ready for suicidal missions. Moreover dozens of Muslim scientists who are experts in different fields have assured me their knowledge and expertise against anti-Islam forces."
He said the jihad against anti-Islamic forces would continue "until atrocities against Muslims stopped. There are many Muslims like me who after quitting luxurious life have come to the path of jihad. And we will continue the jihad against infidels.
"We don't possess any chemical weapon but our morale is even higher than all those who have nuclear bombs. We'll force the U.S. to change its policies and quit the anti-Islam agenda."
Earlier, immediately after the terrorist attacks, an official of Afghanistan's ruling Taleban denied the involvement of the Taleban and bin Laden in the strikes but warned that any retaliation against Kabul would be "a big mistake."
"We condemn the attack and make it clear that we are not involved in it any way," Online news agency quoted Afghan ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Salam Zaeef Mugf as telling reporters in Islamabad late Tuesday.
"Osama bin Laden has no facilities to make such a big planning. We don't expect the US to attack us on mere assumptions."
"It would be a big mistake of the US if they tried to target Afghanistan for the crime. We are not in anyway involved and we have cleared our position in this regard."
"Osama has not been allowed to play with international law and order. We have not left him to carry such terrorist attacks. We recommend an investigation into the issue."
-- Indo-Asian News Service