Kabul – Afghanistan’s Taliban said today that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden died a martyr’s death which would “give a new impetus” to the fight against the US and its allies.
“The caller to Islamic jihad against the invading infidels, Sheikh Osama bin Laden, embraced martyrdom as per the will of the almighty Allah during an abrupt attack by the American invading soldiers,” the Taliban said in the statement, calling his death an “occasion of great tragedy”.
The tides of war would “gain strength and width,” said the statement released five days after US forces killed the al-Qaeda chief in a compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.
If the US and its allies had hoped that the morale and ranks of Taliban fighters would weaken after Bin Laden’s death, that showed only their lack of insight, the statement said.
The death of Bin Laden would “lead to hundreds more to head to the field of martyrdom and sacrifice,” the militants said.
“Among the believers, there are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah.
Some fulfilled their vow by death and some are still awaiting and they have not changed in the least,” they said, citing a verse from the Qur’an.
Bin Laden’s life had been full of sacrifice and hardship, the statement said, praising him for his part in the fight against the Soviet invasion “with great honesty and bravery shoulder to shoulder with the Afghans”.
“He was an indefatigable fighter against the Christian and Jewish aggression in the Islamic world and was not sparing any effort in this cause.”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Monday that Bin Laden had been punished for his deeds and called on the Taliban to learn from his fate and join the peace process.
The US-led invasion of Afghanistan started in November 2001, two months after the September 11 attacks that killed around 3 000 people.
The US accused the Taliban rulers in Kabul of harbouring Bin Laden.