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Taleban Leader Urges Muslims, Supporters Worldwide to Hold Rallies - 2001-10-26


The leader of Afghanistan's ruling Taleban movement is calling on his supporters worldwide to hold pro-Taleban rallies. The Taleban has been under intense air strikes for sheltering Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network.

Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar says that America is using its strong media to portray "Jihad" - or holy war - as terrorism and holy warriors as terrorists. It is "absolute cruelty," Mullah Mohammad says.

The statement, carried by an Afghan Islamic Press quotes him as saying the United States, India, Russia and Israel are the true terrorists and enemies of Islam, as they are using their modern weapons to kill Muslims.

The Taleban leader urges Muslims and supporters of the Taleban cause across the world to hold rallies within 72 hours. He does not elaborate as to what kind of protests he is seeking.

The Taleban is under fierce air attacks from U.S.-led forces for its refusal to hand over Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden to stand trial on charges of killing thousands of Americans. The United States says the attacks in Afghanistan are meant to destroy terrorist training camps linked to Osama bin Laden.

U.S. officials have accused the Taleban of encouraging international terrorists to take refuge in Afghanistan and carry out attacks against American facilities.

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