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Terror leader says war in Afghanistan is unjust.
CAIRO - Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden called on Europeans to stop helping the United States in the war in Afghanistan, according to excerpts of a new audiotape broadcast Thursday on Al-Jazeera television.
Bin Laden said it was unjust for the United States to have invaded Afghanistan for sheltering him after the Sept. 11 attacks, saying he was the "only one responsible" for the deadly assaults on New York and Washington.
"The events of Manhattan were retaliation against the American-Israeli alliance's aggression against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, and I am the only one responsible for it. The Afghan people and government knew nothing about it. America knows that," the al-Qaida leader said.
The message appeared to be another attempt by bin Laden to influence public opinion in the West. In 2004, he offered Europeans a truce if they stopped attacking Muslims, then later spoke of a truce with the United States. In both cases, al-Qaida then denounced those areas for not accepting its offer.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack dismissed the new tape as typical of bin Laden's tactics and expressed faith in the European allies.
"I think our NATO allies understand quite clearly what is at stake in Afghanistan as well as elsewhere around the world in fighting the war on terror," he told reporters. "It's going to require a sustained commitment over a period of time and we have seen that kind of commitment from our European allies."
FBI analysts were reviewing the tape. Spokesman Richard Kolko said it was being examined "to determine if it is authentic and for any intelligence value."
"As the FBI has said since 9/11, bin Laden was responsible for the attack," Kolko said in a statement. "In this latest tape, he again acknowledged his responsibility. This should help to clarify for all the conspiracy theorists, again - the 9/11 attack was done by bin Laden and al-Qaida."
WASHINGTON - A Marine company involved in the shooting of civilians in Afghanistan last March responded appropriately to an ambush against them and should not have been pulled out of the country, Marine Maj. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik, head of Marine Corps Special Operations Command, said Thursday.
Eight members of the Marine Corps company involved in the March 4 shooting - which left as many as 19 civilians dead and 50 injured - were ordered back to Camp Lejune after the incident, and the rest of the company was told to leave Afghanistan and return to ships in the Persian Gulf.
[Last modified November 30, 2007, 01:47:21]