Mullah Omar claims Taliban stronger

Dec. 18, 2007 at 9:43 PM

KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- A statement attributed to Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar claims the group is stronger than ever in Afghanistan.

The statement released to news agencies by the Afghan Islamic Press quoted the fugitive, sought by the U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, as dismissing the recent NATO-led forces' recapture of the town of Musa Qala in Helmand Province from Taliban insurgents as a "minor victory," the BBC reported.

He was quoted as saying celebrating such a "minor victory" is the biggest proof of the foreign forces' weakness. He said the Taliban is far stronger now than when its regime fell in 2001.

"The aggression by the Americans and their allies against Afghanistan and Iraq brought with it economic and financial losses that affected not just occupied states -- the aggressors are also suffering," Omar was quoted as saying.

"International institutions and all countries, especially Muslim states, should find ways for the evacuation of aggressor forces, and ... help form a permanent and independent government."

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