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Bin laden works with taliban says uk tv { February 2007 }

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Bin Laden Is Alive; Taliban Recruits Many Bombers, Mullah Says
By Alex Morales

March 1 (Bloomberg) -- Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is alive and his followers work closely with the Taliban, who have mobilized hundreds of suicide bombers, a top Afghan mullah said in an interview obtained by the U.K.'s Channel 4 News.

Taliban leaders of the insurgency against Afghan and NATO troops in southern Afghanistan meet bin Laden only ``rarely'' though they share plans with him and go into battle with al-Qaeda loyalists, Mullah Dadullah said in the undated footage posted on the television channel's Web site. His comments were translated.

``It's hard for anyone to meet bin Laden himself now, but we know he is still alive; he's not yet martyred,'' said Dadullah, the top Taliban military commander in southern Afghanistan. ``Only his comrades see him. We exchange messages with each other to share plans. We also go to the battlefield together.''

The U.S. ousted the Taliban regime for sheltering bin Laden following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on U.S. targets including the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that killed about 3,000 people. A resurgent Taliban last year forced NATO to seek more troops amid suicide bombings and other attacks, mainly in the south. The Taliban has more bombers ready to strike, Dadullah said.

``The suicide martyrs, those willing to blow themselves up, are countless,'' he said. ``Hundreds have registered their names already and are ready to go, and we have hundreds more on the waiting list. Each is anxious to be the first to be sent.''

Dadullah, with a black beard and black turban, was shown in front of at least four armed men and a wall the color of dried mud. He wore a dark olive-green shirt. Channel 4 didn't say where it obtained the footage.

Civilians Killed

Fighting last year killed at least 4,000 Afghan civilians and dozens of North Atlantic Treaty Organization soldiers. U.K. Defense Secretary Des Browne on Feb. 26 said Britain will add 1,400 troops to its contingent in Afghanistan to help fight the Taliban in the south and east.

NATO has about 35,000 troops in Afghanistan, led by the U.S. with 14,000. American, British, Canadian and Dutch troops are doing the bulk of the fighting in the south, while countries such as Germany, France and Italy restrict most of their forces to the calmer north and west. The added U.K. deployment will bring to 7,700 the number of British troops in Afghanistan.

Last Updated: March 1, 2007 10:21 EST

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