Taliban leader exhorts suicide bombers in video

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KABUL, Oct 3 (Reuters) A Taliban leader in southern Afghanistan exhorted a group of about 200 followers to carry out suicide bomb attacks to drive foreign forces from the country in a video made available to Reuters today.

It was not immediately clear when the video was made, but it appeared a day after at least 11 people, including women and children, were killed in a suicide attack on a police bus in Kabul and four days after a similar attack on an army bus in the capital killed 30.

''Suicide raids are very useful against the enemy,'' Mullah Mansour Dadullah told the masked followers, said to be suicide bombers, sitting in a flat desert area.

''It is a success against the enemy military capabilities, or logistical capabilities. This can destroy them. I assure all of you that your raids affect the enemy very badly.'' Mullah Mansour took over as commander of Taliban forces in the southern province of Helmand in May after his brother, Mullah Dadullah, was killed in a raid by British special forces.

The feared Mullah Dadullah had been responsible for a wave of suicide bombings and beheadings that shocked Afghans.

''I want to say that today's Muslims don't understand what their responsibilities are. I suggest every single mujahid must ready himself for sacrifice like Haji Dadullah,'' Mullah Mansour said, referring to his brother.

The seated suicide bombers, flanked by armed insurgents waved small Taliban white flags in approval. It was not clear when the film was made, but appeared to be one of the first video appearances by the new commander in Helmand.

Mainly British and US forces are engaged in almost daily battles with Taliban rebels in Helmand, a vast area of desert with a thin fertile strip following the Helmand river where most of Afghanistan's and the world's opium in produced.

British troops hold most major towns along the river, while Taliban rebels operate in the areas in between and the desert beyond.

Mansour asked those who were ready to attack US forces to stand and one group did so, then another group stood to indicate they were ready to attack British forces.

One bomber stood and addressed the meeting in English.

''Let me say something about why we are going along with my team to have a suicide attack invasion,'' he said with a Pakistani accent. He said Islam is a religion of peace, but then his voice became indistinct.

''I suggest you all encourage more people to join us in this movement,'' said Mansour. ''We should all promise to resist against any invaders who are in Afghanistan.'' REUTERS RS KP2235

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