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Magazine runs what it calls bin Laden's will

Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- The editor-in-chief of a London-based Arab news magazine said a purported will it published Saturday was written late last year by Osama bin Laden, and shows "he's dying or he's going to die soon."

U.S. intelligence officials say they have the purported will, but are not able to say if it is genuine. CNN has not been able to verify that the document is bin Laden's will.

"He did write the will as someone saying good-bye," Hani Nakshabandi of the Arab news magazine Al Majalla told CNN.

He said one of the magazine's reporters obtained the four-page document, said to be signed by the leader of the al Qaeda terrorist network and dated December 14, 2001, in Afghanistan.

In the document, which was translated for CNN, the writer expresses disappointment with the Taliban, who harbored him in Afghanistan, speaks of betrayal, and urges his children to shun al Qaeda.

"Even amongst the students of religion, only few stood their ground and fought, and the rest either surrendered or fled," the document says, referring to the Taliban, according to a translation for CNN.

Despite the setbacks, the purported will says, "We will be victorious against the U.S. and the infidel West even if it takes tens of years."

"My last advice is to the mujahedeen everywhere," the document says. "Take a breather and put aside for the time being, fighting the Jews and the Crusades, and instead devote your efforts to purifying your groups from the agents and the cowards and those impostors who claim to be scholars amongst you."

"As for you, my sons, forgive me if I failed to devote more of my time to you since I answered the call to Jihad," the document says.

It continues: "I have carried the burden of Muslims and their causes, and have chosen a dangerous path and endured hardship, disappointment and betrayal. If it wasn't for betrayal, things would be different today."

The writer advises his sons, "This is the most precious advice I can give you. I also want you to stay away from al Qaeda," asking them "not to follow in his path and seek leadership."

Because of the message to his children, Nakshabandi said he believes there will be dramatic upheaval in al Qaeda leadership, and his magazine plans another article in the next week or so based on correspondence among the group's leaders.

To his wives, the author of the document says, "May God reward you generously. You have been very supportive to me. You recognized right at the start that the path will be paved with land mines and other obstacles."

"Don't consider marrying again, and devote yourselves to your children and guide them to the right path."

The purported will, signed "Your brother Abu Abdullah Osama Muhammad Bin Laden," could not be independently authenticated.

According to the magazine, their experts say there have been no confirmed sightings of bin Laden since last December.

The document was dated after the September 11 terror attacks against the United States and about one week before Taliban rule officially ended in Afghanistan with the swearing-in of an interim government.

In the document, the writer says the attacks on New York and Washington were the third in a series of al Qaeda attacks that also included the 1983 attack on a U.S. Marines barracks in Lebanon and the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

Also in December, the U.S.-led coalition was bombing suspected al Qaeda training camps in mountainous eastern Afghanistan and searching for bin Laden and top Taliban leaders believed to be hiding in the region.

Nakshabandi said he heard about the purported will in March, and obtained a copy a week ago from one of his reporters posted near Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan, but declined to be more specific. The magazine waited to publish it until they could confirm its authenticity, he added.

"I have confirmation it is the right one," he said, citing his own sources.

While admitting he doesn't know for sure if bin Laden is dead, Nakshabandi said, "Once someone writes his will, it means either he's dying or he's going to die soon."

Al Majalla is published by Saudi Research and Publishing Co., and has about 93,000 readers.



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