BERLIN – German authorities said Sunday that they believe a purported Al Qaeda video in which a man threatens Germany over its military presence in Afghanistan is authentic.
The video, dated October 2008, features a man calling himself "Abu Talha the German," who speaks with his face covered by a black turban.
Speaking in fluent though slightly accented German, he notes that Germany — which has more than 3,300 soldiers in Afghanistan — has the largest contingent of troops after the U.S. and Britain.
"If the Germans ... gullibly and naively think that they can get away scot-free as the third-biggest troop provider, then German politicians are out of place in parliament," he says.
The speaker does not offer a more specific threat, though he says at one point that "it has been my wish to blow myself up for Allah since 1993."
The SITE Intelligence Group, a U.S.-based organization that monitors militant Web sites, said Al Qaeda's media production house, Al-Sahab, released the message Saturday.
German authorities evaluated the video.
"We believe it is authentic," said Christian Brockert, a spokesman for Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office.
The police office said it had identified the speaker as a man who left Germany in early 2007 and trained at a terrorist camp in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It did not elaborate or name him.
The often rambling 30-minute message, subtitled in Arabic, is titled "the rescue package for Germany" — an apparent reference to a multibillion-euro government bank rescue package drawn up in October.
"The financial crisis swept away the pride of the Germans," the speaker says, questioning whether the rescue package would help the economy recover. "If the people pull their soldiers out of Afghanistan, the government's expectations could perhaps be met."
German troops serve mainly in Afghanistan's relatively peaceful north, though they still suffer from occasional bomb attacks.
"We long ago gained a foothold in the north," the speaker said, suggesting that soldiers are "no longer safe anywhere."