CAIRO — The Al Qaeda chief, Osama bin Laden, called on Pakistanis to rebel against President Musharraf in a new recording released today, saying his military's siege of a militant mosque stronghold makes him an infidel.
The storming of the Red Mosque in Islamabad in July "demonstrated Musharraf's insistence on continuing his loyalty, submissiveness and aid to America against the Muslims ... and makes armed rebellion against him and removing him obligatory," Mr. bin Laden said in the message.
"So when the capability is there, it is obligatory to rebel against the apostate ruler, as is the case now," he said, according to a transcript released by an American terrorism expert who monitors militant message traffic, Laura Mansfield.
Mr. bin Laden's voice was heard over a video showing previously released footage of the terror leader. It was posted today on Islamic militant Web sites.
A Pakistani army spokesman, Major General Waheed Arshad, said the army will continue its fight against terrorism, regardless of any threats it faces.
"We have the aim and objective, as our national duty, to eliminate terrorists and eradicate extremism. The Pakistan army will continue to carry out its role against terrorists wherever they are found, whether in the tribal areas (of northwest Pakistan) or elsewhere."
"Such threats issued through videos or in any other way cannot deter us from fulfilling our national duty," he said.
Mr. bin Laden's new message came as Al Qaeda released a video in which his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, boasted that the America was being defeated in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other fronts.
The messages are part of a stepped-up propaganda campaign by Al Qaeda around the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Earlier this month, bin Laden released two messages — including his first new appearance in a video in nearly three years.
The sophisticated 80-minute video of Al-Zawahri released today was in the style of a documentary, intersplicing his speech with scenes of the September 11 attacks, interviews with experts and officials taken from Western and Arab television stations, and old footage and audio of Mr. bin Laden.
Al-Zawahri began by also condemning the Pakistani military's assault on the Red Mosque, and he paid tribute to one of the militants' leaders, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who was killed in the fighting.
The siege "revealed the extent of the despicableness, lowliness and treason of Musharraf and his forces, who don't deserve the honor of defending Pakistan, because Pakistan is a Muslim land, whereas the forces of Musharraf are hunting dogs under (President) Bush's crucifix," al-Zawahri said.
"Let the Pakistani army know that the killing of Abdul Rashid Ghazi and his male and female students ... has soaked the history of the Pakistan army in shame and despicableness which can only washed away by retaliation," he said.
Mr. bin Laden and al-Zawahri are thought to be hiding in the lawless Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, where many analysts believe they have rebuilt Al Qaeda's core leadership.
Al-Zawahri called for attacks on French and Spanish interests in North Africa and on U.N. and African peacekeepers expected to deploy in Sudan's Darfur region.
The video also included footage of Al Qaeda's leader in Afghanistan, Mustafa Abu al-Yazeed, meeting with a senior Taliban commander. In contrast to past videos that showed Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in rough desert terrain, Abu al-Yazeed and the commander were shown sitting in a field surrounded by trees as a jihad anthem played, extolling the virgins that will meet martyrs in paradise.
Abu al-Yazeed said Al Qaeda's ties with the Taliban were strengthening. The Taliban commander, Dadullah Mansoor, said: "We shall target the infidels in Afghanistan and outside Afghanistan: inside all the infidel countries oppressing the Muslims. And we shall focus our attacks, Allah willing, on the coalition forces in Afghanistan."
Another clip showed the leader of Algeria's main Islamic insurgency movement, Abu Musab Abdulwadood, addressing Mr. bin Laden and vowing that "our swords are unsheathed."
Al-Zawahri called on supporters in North Africa to "cleanse the Maghrib (western region) of Islam of the children of France and Spain. ... Stand with your sons the mujahedeen against the Crusaders and their children."
The video also included what IntelCenter said appeared to be old, but previously unreleased footage of Mr. bin Laden. The images show the terror leader, with a beard streaked with gray and a white cloth draped over his head, in front of a map showing the Middle East and parts of Asia.
He condemns Arab Gulf governments that have allied themselves with America, saying they have "sold the Islamic nation, colluded with the enemies of Islam and backed the infidels. And this is the greater form of being an infidel ... But Allah permitting, they shall leave the Gulf under the blows of the mujahedeen," Mr. bin Laden said.