A new tape from Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, claims the United States has only limited movement around Afghanistan. The tape, aired on the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network on Thursday, appears to be a rallying call for al-Qaeda followers just two days before the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Zawahri spoke to camera for several minutes in the videotape, wearing a white turban with a machine gun at his side. The east and south of Afghanistan have become an open arena for the Mujahideen jihad fighters, while the enemy is limited to their capitals, he said. These regions have been wracked by the fiercest resistance to US military forces and there have been frequent attacks on Afghan election workers preparing for an October 9 presidential vote, informs the NEWS. According to Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri is considered to be Osama Bin Laden's second in command. His message was broadcast on the Arab news channel Al Jazeera. "America's defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan has become a matter of time," said Zawahri who was wearing a white turban with a machine gun at his side. "In both countries, if they continue they will bleed to death and if they withdraw they lose everything." "In Islamic Iraq the Mujahideen have turned America's plan head over heels." Earlier, the Iraqi prime Minister said four senior al-Qaeda members had been captured. The members are believed to have entered Iraq from abroad. "Four important suspects from al Qaeda who came from abroad were captured, and hopefully you will catch more soon," Allawi said on a visit to a military training centre in northern Iraq. U.S. military officials in Afghanistan could not be immediately reached for comment, but new U.S. bases have opened in provincial town across the troubled south and east, and the American-led coalition has swelled to 18,000 from about 11,000 late last year. Hundreds of suspected militants have been among some 900 people killed in political violence across Afghanistan this year. Still, U.S. and Afghan officials on edge after a Kabul car bombing two weeks ago killed about 10 people, including three Americans, concede that militant attacks could increase in the run-up to Oct. 9 presidential elections. In neighboring Pakistan, army spokesman Gen. Shaukat Sultan said he would prefer to see first whether al-Zawahri's videotape was authentic, but "if it is, we think it is aimed at boosting the morale of the terrorists who suffered casualties and whose training facility and hideouts were demolished by our forces during today's operation in South Waziristan", reports Jerusalem Post.
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