Just days after the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Al Qaeda's second in command Ayman Al-Zawahiri has released a new audio recording attacking US "Crusaders" in Afghanistan and blasting the Pakistani government as an "agent" of the West.
The message, which was published on radical Islamist web sites frequently used to distribute al Qaeda propaganda tapes, was accompanied by a previously seen photo of Zawahiri and a written English transcript. The release of the message comes as the CIA has stepped up its drone attacks in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden are believed to be hiding.
In the 44-minute audio message, Zawahiri marked the nearly decade-long US "crusade" in Afghanistan with a diatribe about current events, including the Pakistani government's response to devastating floods and the upcoming Egyptian presidential elections.
Zawahiri calls the supposed Crusade "broken," and says that the West has realized it cannot win militarily in Afghanistan.
Zawahiri also refers to Western desecration of the Koran and insults to the Prophet Mohammed. "Aren't they the forces which humiliated the noble Koran in Guantanamo, Iraq and elsewhere?"
Ben Venzke of the Intel Center, a private organization that analyzes jihadi propaganda videos, told ABC News the statement was released in a distribution pattern typically used by Al Qaeda and appears to be authentic. Venzke also noted the frequency of messages from Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden has decreased in recent months.