Saturday, December 12, 2009

al Qaeda's left-handed apology. File this please - you know where.

CNN) -- On the heels of a U.S. announcement of a massive troop surge for Afghanistan, an al Qaeda spokesman Saturday appeared to be trying to improve the group's image in the region with a new audio message in English.

Adam Gadahn, also known as Azzam the American, appeared in a 17-minute video released on Islamist online forums late Friday, offering condolences to the families of innocent people killed in al Qaeda attacks.
Gadahn said al Qaeda "have condemned and continue to condemn" all attacks by Western powers or "secular political forces."

"We express our condolences to the families of the Muslim men, women and children killed in these criminal acts and we ask Allah to have mercy on those killed and accept them as shohadaa (martyrs)," he says in the video.

"We also express the same in regard to the unintended Muslim victims of the mujahedeen's operations against the crusaders and their allies and puppets, and to the countless faceless and nameless Muslim victims of the murderous crusades" in Afghanistan, Pakistan's Waziristan regions and Swat Valley, and elsewhere, he said.

It is a rare example of al Qaeda offering condolences to the families of those killed in the group's own attacks.

The video comes nearly two weeks after U.S. President Barack Obama announced the deployment of 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, as part of a strategy to reverse the Taliban's momentum and stabilize the country's government.
Obama said he would begin sending the additional troops in early 2010, with the goal of starting to withdraw all forces from Afghanistan by July 2011. The additional forces, Obama said, will help accelerate the handing over of responsibility to Afghan forces.


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