washingtonpost.com  > World > Asia/Pacific > Central Asia > Afghanistan > Post

Purported Zawahiri Tape Condemns U.S. 'Reforms'

Associated Press
Monday, February 21, 2005; Page A22

CAIRO, Feb. 20 -- Al-Jazeera television broadcast a videotape Sunday purporting to show Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman Zawahiri, denouncing U.S. calls for reform in the region and urging the West to respect the Islamic world.

Zawahiri, who appeared sitting on the ground and in front of a brown background, said the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "explains the truth about reforms and democracy that America alleges it wants to impose in our countries."

"Reform is based on American detention camps like Bagram, Kandahar, Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib; it will be based on cluster bombs and imposition of people like Karzai and Allawi," he said, referring to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

"Real security is based on mutual cooperation with the Islamic nation on the basis of mutual respect and the stopping of aggression."

Al-Jazeera reported that the excerpt was part of a longer videotape, but it did not indicate its length. The station did not say if it would broadcast the rest of the video.

In Washington, the CIA said it was looking at the tape in an effort to determine its authenticity.

The videotape is the latest in a string of statements directed at the United States and its allies from Zawahiri, the number two person in the al Qaeda terrorist network. It was unclear whether this videotape was the same message as one posted on the Internet criticizing the "rigged elections" in Iraq shortly after that country's Jan. 30 vote. That message was said to be a transcript from an audiotape.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company