Accused terrorist Osama bin Laden has urged Pakistanis to fight any attack from "crusader Americans" with all their might. Qatar's al-Jazeera satellite television quotes a statement by the Saudi fugitive as saying he wants his Muslim brothers in Pakistan to fight any U.S. invastion of that country or Afghanistan.
The statement faxed to al-Jazeera was typed in Arabic, signed "Osama bin Laden" in typed letters and signed in handwriting by "Osama Mohammad." At the Taleban headquarters in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar city, Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar also issued a statement. He says if the United States wants terrorism to end, it should withdraw its forces from the Gulf and end what he calls its bias in the Middle East.
The Taleban leader said if Washington does not take those steps, it will be involved in a vain and bloody war. It also says Washington should not think that it can emerge from the crisis by killing him and Osama bin Laden.
Meanwhile, United Nations officials say the Taleban has taken over the U.N. offices in Kandahar and placed a communications blackout on other U.N. operations. Officials from the U.N.'s World Food Program in Kandahar say the Taleban has also seized 1,400 tons of food.
A spokeswoman said U.N. food distribution is continuing in northern Afghanistan and the capital, Kabul. But she says those could also be threatened unless the Taleban lifts the communications blackout.
The Taleban's ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salaam Zaeef, says Taleban authorities have not been able to find Osama bin Laden to deliver a request that he leave Afghanistan voluntarily. However, U.S. officials say it is not believable that the Taleban does not know the whereabouts of the Saudi exile.
Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.