Al-Qaida’s US-born spokesman assails Pakistan over its response to floods

By Chris Brummitt, AP
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Al-Qaida US-born spokesman criticizes Pakistan

ISLAMABAD — A U.S.-born spokesman for al-Qaida has urged Muslims in Pakistan to join Islamist militants fighting their nation’s rulers, saying that Islamabad’s “sluggish and halfhearted” response to recent floods showed it did not care for them.

Adam Gadahn’s remarks in a video released Wednesday echoed those of al-Qaida’s No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a similar posting on militant websites earlier this month, suggesting the terror organization has decided on a single, simple message to push on the back of the floods that affected as many as 20 million people in Pakistan.

Gadahn criticized President Asif Ali Zardari for going on a trip to Europe at the start of the flooding and said he suspected much of the aid money flowing into Pakistan would be stolen by corrupt officials.

“While the generals, politicians and puppets try to hide their war crimes from public view, they have done little … (for) the suffering of the flood and war-ravaged people they claim to represent and serve,” he said. “That is why they must go.”

Al-Qaida’s leadership is based in northwest Pakistan close to the Afghan border. Gadahn, who has been hunted by the FBI since 2004, is presumed to be in the country. He is shown sitting on a rocky, forested hillside dressed in white, freshly ironed clothing and holding a gun.

The sheer scale of the floods in Pakistan, already suffering from a poor economy and frequent militant attacks, has overwhelmed authorities. It has added to the unpopularity of the Zardari government, which is allied with the United States in its fight against al-Qaida.

Gadahn said victims of the floods had expressed disgust at the “sluggish and halfhearted” response by Islamabad.

He said the “only way to get rid of them and put an end to the vicious circle of rigged elections and military coups is by supporting your brothers, the sincere and truthful mujahedeen of Islam.”

The American also criticized Afghan President Hamid Karzai for expressing concern for Afghan citizens who collaborated with U.S. forces and whose identities were allegedly exposed in classified American military documents released by the Internet site WikiLeaks.

He said Karzai showed more concern for those Afghans “than the thousands of Afghan Muslims whose homes, lives and livelihoods were destroyed by heavy rains and American bombs.”

Gadahn is also known as Azzam al-Amriki, Arabic for the American. He last appeared in a video message in June.

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