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Pakistan leader a 'robber president,' al Qaeda's No.2 leader says

By the CNN Wire Staff
An image grab taken from a video broadcast on Al Jazeera television on 20 December 2006 shows Ayman al-Zawahiri.
An image grab taken from a video broadcast on Al Jazeera television on 20 December 2006 shows Ayman al-Zawahiri.
  • Al Qaeda's second-in-command says that Pakistan is failing its people
  • Blames the cooperation with American war efforts against terrorism
  • He calls the Pakistani leader "a robber president"

(CNN) -- Al Qaeda's second-in-command lashed out at the government of Pakistan in a purported statement released Wednesday, saying it had turned on its people by cooperating with the United States and its allies.

The statement, attributed to Ayman al-Zawahiri, referred to Pakistan's leader, Asif Ali Zardari, as a "robber president."

The statement linked Zardari to the American war effort in Afghanistan, and to allegations of American desecrations of Qurans.

The people of Pakistan are sinning by being silent against the current administration, he wrote.

The statement also expressed the terrorist leader's condolences for victims of the recent flooding in Pakistan. More than 1,600 people have died, according to the country's disaster authority, and at least 17 million Pakistanis have been affected.

The statement declared that Zawahiri wished for al Qaeda to be there to help with aid efforts, "but the treasonous ruling class in the Pakistani government and army came -- and continues to come -- between us and this honor, as a service to the senior criminals in Washington, London and Tel Aviv."

Pakistani officials did not immediately comment on the statement.

The al Qaeda second-in-command also took aim at what he characterized as American manipulation of the transition from former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to Zardari, and claimed that the United States was trying to do the same with the candidacy of Mohamed ElBaradei in Egypt.

"There must be awareness of the flimsiness of the position which says that we might be able to achieve our liberty, honor and dignity by rallying around American influence and following its emissaries," he said. "All this flimsy call will bring us is a move from one vassalage to another vassalage and from one corruption to another corruption."