The leader of Afghanistan's Taliban regime today warned Muslim
over the world to be ready for a holy war to defend the Islamic
Mullah Mohammad Omar said all Muslims should defend Afghanistan and "should be ready for anything to make a sacrifice for Islam".
Speaking on the Taliban Voice of Shariat Radio, Mr Omar on Friday urged Afghans to prepare for a US assault and stand steadfast "against the enemy".
Exiled Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden - believed to be hiding out in Afghanistan - is suspected of being responsible for the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Centre.
The Taliban also vowed to take revenge against any country which attacked it.
"Death comes to everyone. We must stand proud as Afghans in the defence of Islam," Mr Omar said.
"Believe in God, for with the grace of God the American rockets will go astray and we will be saved."
In his radio address, Mr Omar said he would die rather than back down. "I am not afraid of death or of losing power. I am willing to give up power and my seat, but I'm not willing to give up Islam," he said. "We shall be victorious."
He also stated: "Be ready for jihad (holy war). Each Muslim should ready for a jihad against this and be ready for his religion if there is a need for him to sacrifice himself for Islam and his belief, and make a sacrifice for the symbol of belief in Islam."
Taliban spokesman Abdul Hai Muttmain said: "If a country or group violates our country, we will not forget our revenge."
He would not say how the militia would retaliate. Bin Laden has been living in Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban since 1996.
The hard-line Islamic militia refuses to hand him over until Washington provides convincing evidence of guilt.
In a written statement on Friday, Mr Omar said US investigators were trying to link bin Laden to this week's attacks "unjustifiably and without any reason".
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