Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf says the U-S fight against terrorism does not target Islam or the people of Afghanistan.
In an address to his nation Wednesday to explain cooperation with the United States, General Musharraf said Washington has asked for Pakistan's help in the exchange of information on terrorism, and the use of Pakistani air space and logistical support.
He said it is in Islamabad's best interest to help in the campaign against Osama bin Laden. The United States has identified the exiled Saudi dissident as the main suspect behind the September 11th suicide terrorist attacks in the United States.
During his speech, the general assured the Pakistani people that Washington is only after three targets -- Osama bin Laden, his terrorist network Al-Qaeda, and the Taleban, which has given refuge to the alleged terrorists.
Pakistan's leader also warned that his country faces its worst crisis in 30 years, and must save itself.
Pakistan is just one of three countries that recognizes the Taleban. Wednesday's speech came as opposition to Pakistan's support for any U-S action gathered momentum in the country.
The head of a grouping of 35 Pakistani Islamic organizations said Wednesday the groups would have to obey any Taleban order for a religious war, or jihad, if the United States moves against Afghanistan. The French news agency quotes several opposition Islamic leaders saying Pakistan must choose Islam over the United States.
Meanwhile in Washington, a White House spokesman said the speech was an indication of what he called "the strong relationship" between the United States and Pakistan to counter terrorism.
Western countries are asking most of their citizens to leave and avoid Pakistan and other nearby countries amid the uncertainty.