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Taliban: Bin Laden's death reinvigorates war against U.S.

By Chelsea J. Carter, CNN
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Taliban confirms that Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces
  • NEW: Taliban says the terror leader has achieved martyrdom
  • NEW: Confirmation removes any question on whether his closest allies believe he is dead
  • The Taliban statement follows another one by al Qaeda

(CNN) -- The Taliban, one of Osama bin Laden's closest allies, confirmed late Friday that the al Qaeda founder had been killed by U.S. commandos during a raid in Pakistan.

The admission by the Taliban comes on the heels of one earlier in the day by al Qaeda, removing any question about whether bin Laden's closest allies and his terror network believed he was dead.

Al Qaeda statement on bin Laden's death

Bin Laden "embraced martyrdom as per the Will of the Almighty Allah during an abrupt attack by the American invading soldiers," according to a statement released by the Afghan Taliban, which had for years allowed bin Laden's terror network to operate in Afghanistan.

Al Qaeda statement in Arabic (PDF)

President Barack Obama announced Sunday that bin Laden had been killed by U.S. commandos during a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, about 35 miles north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

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On Friday, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met privately with members of the Navy SEAL Team 6, the unit that conducted the raid.

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Among the SEALs that Obama met at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, was the one who fired the fatal shots at bin Laden, but he was not singled out to the president, a senior administration official said.

Obama and Biden thanked the commandos and were briefed on the operation by the unit members who conducted it, according to a White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The official was not authorized to release the details of the meeting.

Officials have said bin Laden was shot twice -- once in the head, once in the chest. He was buried at sea in what U.S. officials have described as a proper Islamic burial.

Obama decided earlier this week not to release any photos of bin Laden's body, saying he did not want to inflame Arab passions or appear to gloat.

The decision drew sharp criticism from many, who wanted proof of the terrorist leader's death. Others, including many in the town where bin Laden was killed, said they did not believe he was dead.

But Friday's acknowledgement by al Qaeda and the Taliban put to rest questions about whether bin Laden's closest allies believed he had been killed by Navy SEALs.

Al Qaeda confirmed its leader's death in a Web statement and used that opportunity to taunt and threaten the United States.

"Sheikh Osama didn't build an organization that will vanish with his death or fades away with his departure," according to the statement, which CNN could not independently authenticate.

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The statement, which congratulates the "Islamic Nation on the martyrdom of their devoted son Osama," repeated themes and threats made over the years in prior statements by the terror group.

Al Qaeda's statement surfaced as protesters packed the streets of Abbottabad in a rally organized by Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan's largest Islamist party. The demonstrators denounced the U.S. and Pakistani governments.

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The statement also expressed disdain for the efforts and motives of the United States, saying that the Americans managed to kill bin Laden "by disgrace and betrayal."

"Men and heroes only should be confronted in the battlefields but at the end, that's God's fate. Still we ask, will the Americans be able -- through their media outlets, their agents, their instruments, soldiers, intelligence services and their might -- be able to kill what Sheikh Osama lived for and was killed for? How far! How impossible!"

According to the statement, bin Laden recorded an audio message a week prior to his death regarding the revolutions sweeping the Muslim world and offering advice and guidance. Al Qaeda indicated that the release of this message is forthcoming.

Meanwhile, the Taliban statement said bin Laden's death will reinvigorate the "jihad," or holy war, against the United States and its allies.

Bin Laden and the Taliban's leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, were said to have a close friendship.

The Taliban said bin Laden has achieved martyrdom, something he had long worked toward.

"He reached his ambition with bravery, dedication and commitment in the last moments of his life," the Taliban statement said.

Meanwhile, investigators poring over material seized by the SEAL team found details about a possible attack on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and the intelligence led Thursday to a nationwide alert regarding rail security.

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