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U.S.-dropped leaflets show bin Laden in Western clothes

DoD leaflet
The back of the Department of Defense leaflets shows Osama bin Laden in Western-style dress.  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon is trying to persuade remaining al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan to surrender by distributing leaflets that contain a doctored image of Osama bin Laden in Western-style dress.

The two-sided paper is being dropped in areas of Afghanistan where the United States believed al Qaeda fighters are.

The leaflet has an image of dead Afghan soldiers with the following statement, with spellings retained: "Usama bin Laden, the murderer and coward, has abandoned al Qaeda. He has abandoned you and run away. Give yourself up and do not die needlessly, you mean nothing to him. Save your families the grief and pain of your death."

On the other side is an altered image of bin Laden, shown without his turban or beard and dressed in a white suit and tie. In large letters, it states: "Usama bin Laden the murderer and coward has abandoned you!"

The United States is searching for bin Laden but U.S. officials say they don't have any idea where bin Laden's is hiding. It is offering a $25 million reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

U.S. Central Command spokesman Commander Dave Culler said the leaflets were dropped in the Afghan areas of Khowst, Ghanzai, Tora Bora, Sokhta and Tarin Kowt -- primarily in the eastern part of the country.

DoD leaflets
The front side of the leaflets calls bin Laden a "murderer and coward."  

The message was also included in Commander Solo broadcasts -- tranmissions broadcast from a EC-130 E aircraft -- for 10 hours in two local languages, including Pashto.

Some analysts say the altered photograph will not play well in some parts of the Muslim world, where there is already suspicion of the United States.

Asked whether the leaflet could be used by some to say the United States is willing to doctor or make up things -- as has been alleged about the videotape found in Afghanistan by the United States -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he had not thought about the possibility

Rumsfeld, speaking at Thursday's Pentagon media briefing, said there was "nothing much" the United States could do about what others might claim about the leaflets.

"The whole premise of bin Laden's activities in the world are premised on lies and the fact that people will say things, like you just said they might say, is true," he said.




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