In a long-distance radio interview about ten days ago, Mullah Dadullah, the one-legged Taliban veteran who appears to command insurgent operations in Afghanistan, declared that, "The expansion of NATO operations in Afghanistan and increase in the number of NATO troops will make it easier for the Taliban to target and attack them." Dadullah, who was Taliban intelligence chief when the Islamist movement ran Afghanistan, is believed hiding out somewhere in the mountainous region astride the Afghan-Pakistani frontier. Of greater interest is the contents of a video that seems to have been released shortly the interview.
In the video, Dadullah is shown making the usual Taliban anti-infidel pitch. At one point he refers to Osama bin-Laden, using the words, "sitting beside me." There is then a clip of bin-Laden, who says a few appropriately belligerent words. The monitor then cuts back to Dudullah, who continues his diatribe. The video, which apparently has not yet seen wide circulation, has reportedly provoked a good deal of attention from intelligence specialists.
Osama bin-Laden has not been heard from in over a year. Intelligence analysts specializing in Al-Qaeda, including "profilers' who have been carefully studying bin-Laden's personality and habits, suggest that the video may be a clumsy attempt to send a "signal" that the terrorist leader is still very much in charge of operations, and is blessing Dadullah's message. The argue that after so long an absence from the public eye, it would be unlike bin-Laden to play "second fiddle" in a relatively minor announcement. Experts in video technology are subjecting the footage to detailed examination, to see what information can be cleaned from clip of bin-Laden (e.g., has it appeared before? was it made recently?, etc.). Meanwhile, questions remain as to the whereabouts, health, and role of Osama bin-Laden, and even whether he is alive or not.