CAIRO -- Al Qaeda's number two leader has issued a new videotape calling on Afghans to rise up against US and coalition forces in Afghanistan following rioting last month in Kabul.
The video by Ayman al-Zawahri -- which would be his sixth this year -- was reported yesterday by IntelCenter, an Alexandria, Va.-based contractor that provides counterterrorism intelligence services to the US government.
``I am calling upon the Muslims in Kabul in particular and in all Afghanistan in general and for the sake of God to stand up in an honest stand in the face of the infidel forces that are invading Muslim lands," Zawahri said, according to a translation by IntelCenter.
Also yesterday, a ttacks on two military convoys in southern Afghanistan left one dead and 13 wounded -- including six Canadian soldiers -- and the US-led coalition warned that ``significant fighting" lies ahead.
A suicide attacker detonated his explosives-filled car near a military convoy in the city of Kandahar, killing one and wounding nine, Afghan and coalition officials said.
The troops were on their way back from a patrol in a light-armored vehicle when they were hit by the attacker's car around 7:30 p.m., said coalition spokesman Major Quentin Innis.
Two Canadian soldiers were injured and the attacker was killed, he said.
In addition, an Afghan bystander was killed and seven others injured, including one policeman and six civilians who were taken to Mir Wais Hospital, said Dr. Aziz Khan.
Earlier in the day, a roadside bomb hit a Canadian convoy in the Shahwali Kot district of Kandahar province, leaving four troops wounded, Innis said.
Two Afghan men seen running from a spot near the bombing were chased down and detained, Innis said.
One of the soldiers was seriously wounded in that blast, he said. The other three were in stable condition.
The attacks came as the coalition warned that major battles will come as Taliban fighters resist the coalition push to sweep the southern region clear ahead of a security handover to NATO-led International Security Assistance Force later this summer, military officials said.
``We are seeing the enemy operating in larger groups. They are fighting hard. They are clearly trying to stop our efforts to move into certain areas," coalition spokesman Colonel Tom Collins said at a news conference in Kabul.
``People should expect significant fighting in certain areas of the south over the coming months," he said.
A day earlier, raids and heavy fighting in southern Helmand and Uruzgan provinces left 30 insurgents dead, coalition forces said.
Operation Mountain Thrust began in earnest last week with more than 10,000 Afghan, British, Canadian, and American troops deploying throughout four southern provinces to crush a resurgent Taliban force in the largest military operation since the former regime's 2001 ouster.
Heavy fighting occurred Tuesday as US-led soldiers and Afghan troops killed 20 insurgents near Musa Qala, a remote town in the mountainous Helmand province, Afghan army commander General Rahmatullah Roufi said. One Afghan soldier was wounded.
Coalition forces had trapped insurgents gathered for a meeting, Roufi said. Military officials recovered all 20 Taliban bodies, along with 22 AK-47s, seven rocket-propelled grenades and three heavy machine guns.