DUBAI Al Qaeda's number two Ayman al-Zawahri released an audio recording Wednesday accusing the Pakistani government of responding too slowly to severe flooding in the country and calling on Pakistanis to revolt.
Zawahri, believed to be hiding in mountains along the Afghan-Pakistani border, spoke in a 44-minute recording which appeared to mark the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
"The primary concern of the ruling class in the government and army of Pakistan is filling their domestic and foreign bank accounts with dollars, and as far as they are concerned, Pakistan and its people can go to hell," he said.
More than 1,700 people have been killed and millions displaced in the flooding, which began six weeks and has caused an estimated $43 billion in damage.
Pakistan's military has taken the lead in providing relief, but the civilian government has been criticised for its sluggish response.
Entitled ""A Victorious Ummah, A Broken Crusade: Nine Years After the Start of the Crusader Campaign," the recording was posted on an Islamist websites often used by al Qaeda.
Zawahri called on Pakistanis and Turkish Muslims to rise up against their government because of their involvement in Afghanistan.
"...The Muslim Turkish people must confront the behaviour of their government, which is participating in the Muslim-killing campaign in Afghanistan," he said.
"The same holds true for the government of Pakistan."
Last year, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, believed to be hiding in the same area, released an audio tape marking the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, but no such message has appeared from him so far this year.
(Writing by Raissa Kasolowsky; editing by Andrew Dobbie)