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US snubs Musharraf, rejects halt in bombing

K J M Varma in Islamabad

United States Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Sunday snubbed Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and said there was no question of halting the military campaign in Afghanistan during Ramzan, as it would enable Osama bin Laden to carry out more terrorist attacks.

Addressing a joint press conference with Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar after his talks with Musharraf, Rumsfeld said, "We know the feelings. The reality is that additional terrorist acts are being expected and they could harm a lot of people."

A day after Musharraf favoured a halt to the American air strikes on Afghanistan during Ramzan, Rumsfeld said, "Our task certainly is to consider the views of the people. But the real objective is to root out terrorism."

"I will discuss the issue with the US defence secretary. If this strike continues in the month of Ramazan, it will have a negative fall-out," Musharraf had said on Saturday.

Rumsfeld had a word of praise for Pakistan's cooperation in the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan.

"The US very much values the relationship with Pakistan. They have approached the battle against terrorism. We realise it, we appreciate it along with dozens and dozens of other countries," he said.

Rumsfeld arrived from Uzbekistan on the fourth leg of his five-nation tour and directly went to confabulate with Musharraf.

The defence secretary, who said in Uzbek capital Tashkent that the military strikes against Afghanistan had made "measured progress", told reporters in Islamabad that the Taleban "are not really functioning as a government, although they still enjoy considerable military cloud in Afghanistan".

"Militarily, the Taleban are using their power in enclaves throughout the country to impose their will on the Afghan people. They are not making major military moves. They are very much in static positions," Rumsfeld said.

Sattar said Pakistan and the US discussed the need to install a multi-ethnic government in Afghanistan through a home-grown process.

During the talks, humanitarian assistance for Afghan refugees in Pakistan was discussed, he said.

Sattar said Musharraf had underlined the need for the continuation of humanitarian assistance for distressed Afghan people inside their own country as well.

America's War on Terror: The Complete Coverage
The Attack on US Cities: The Complete Coverage

The Terrorism Weblog: Latest Stories from Around the World

External Link:
For further coverage, please visit www.saja.org/roundupsept11.html

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