Osama Bin Laden has reportedly tied the kidnapping of five French people in Niger to France’s treatment of its Muslim minority.
An audio message said to have been recorded by the al-Qaeda leader says the abduction was retaliation for “France’s injustice to Muslims”.
It says forthcoming French curbs on the full veil are “colonial oppression”.
The speaker identified as Bin Laden also tells France to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.
…The speaker on the recording, broadcast by Qatar-based satellite TV channel al-Jazeera, says the kidnapping was “in retaliation for [France’s] tyranny… against [the] Muslim nation”. (sic)
France, he says, believes it has “the right to prevent free women from wearing the hijab”.
To protect its security, the speaker goes on, France must “withdraw from the damned war of [former US President George W] Bush in Afghanistan”.
So yesterday France announced district hand over in Afghanistan adding there could be “first withdrawals from Afghanistan” in 2011:
Herve Morin, the French defence minister, said troops aimed to hand over one district to the Afghan forces in 2011 and “there could be the first movements, or first withdrawals of allied forces from Afghanistan”.
Mr Morin said French forces hoped to withdraw from Surobi, east of the Afghan capital, where they have seen heavy fighting and where 10 paratroopers died in a single Taliban ambush in August 2008. Nato has tried to prevent nations naming which areas they will hand over, arguing the districts will become targets for insurgents seeking to reinfiltrate.