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No Suspension of U.S. Campaign in Afghanistan During Ramadan - 2001-11-02


The United States says it will not suspend the bombing campaign in Afghanistan during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and it plans to put more troops on the ground to assist in military operations.

President Bush's National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, said Thursday the United States cannot afford to pause the attacks against Afghanistan's ruling Taleban and suspected terrorist targets in that country.

Ms. Rice rejected calls by some Muslim countries and other governments to suspend the airstrikes, saying the Taleban and other such groups have never been known to observe, as she put it, "rules of civilization."

U-S Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has also said attacks will continue through Ramadan, which begins in mid-November.

(Speaking in a briefing Thursday,) Mr. Rumsfeld said he wants to increase by up to four times the number of troops in Afghanistan. U-S officials have said that fewer than 100 U-S troops are in the country. Mr. Rumsfeld says the troops would assist the U-S campaign and help anti-Taleban forces in northern Afghanistan in such areas as liaison, targeting, communication and resupply.

The U-S Defense Secretary revealed that heavy fire or bad weather has hampered some recent attempts to land troops in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, President Bush holds talks about the war on terrorism in the White House today (Friday) with visiting Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Next week, Mr. Bush will host the leaders of France, Britain, Ireland, Algeria, India and Brazil in meetings aimed at solidifying support for the war against terrorism. He is also expected to make several speeches explaining the U-S - led effort to American and international audiences.

British lawmakers have overwhelmingly (373 to 13) backed the campaign in Afghanistan, in a vote called by critics of the military campaign. Members of Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labor Party forced the procedural vote after a lengthy debate in the House of Commons.

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