Osama bin Laden demanded that European countries pull their troops out of Afghanistan in a new audiotape Friday, warning of "retaliation" against them for their alliance with the United States in the war.
The al-Qaida leader denounced NATO airstrikes in Afghanistan that have killed civilians and warned that European countries would be held accountable alongside the Americans unless they pull out.
"A wise person would not waste his sons and money for a gang of criminals in Washington ... In summary, we are not asking too much or an invalid demand, but it would be be fair that you lift your opression and withdraw your troops," bin Laden said, addressing the Europeans.
The audiotape, just under five minutes long, was posted Friday on Islamic militant Web sites. It comes after a series of al-Qaida videos this week directly addressing Germany, threatening attacks over that country's involvement in Afghanistan. Those videos featured a little-known German-Algerian militant and have raised concerns among German authorities ahead of parliamentary elections.