A new audio tape has been released in which a man claiming to be Osama Bin Laden calls on Europeans to pressure their governments to pull troops out of Afghanistan. Unlike in some previous tapes, Bin Laden cannot be seen but US officials say the voice appears to be his.
A State Department spokesman in Washington reacted by saying coalition forces are committed to their mission: “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. Afghanistan has made great strides since the era of the Taliban” said spokesman Sean McCormack.
NATO’s top commander said last week he was not satisfied at troop numbers in Afghanistan. Around half of the ISAF force of around 35,000 soldiers are American. A British contingent of around 7,000 is the second-largest. Of the participating European forces, Poland, the Netherlands, Italy, France and Germany have also deployed more than 1,000 personnel.