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Rumsfeld: Fighting To Continue During Ramadan - 2001-11-04


U-S Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has indicated that the U-S-led military campaign in Afghanistan will not stop for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The secretary says the United States is aware of Muslim sensitivities but must deal aggressively with the threat posed by terrorist networks.

Mr. Rumsfeld answered reporter questions today (Sunday) during a visit to Islamabad for talks with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf -- a key ally in the international war against terrorism. General Musharraf has called for a halt to U-S airstrikes during Ramadan, which starts in mid-November.

Secretary Rumsfeld also said Afghanistan's ruling Taleban is no longer functioning as a government after nearly a month of air strikes. He said the Taleban as a military force still has concentrations of power, and it is using that power in enclaves to impose its will.

Mr. Rumsfeld arrived in Islamabad from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where he said measurable progress is being made in the U-S-led war against terrorism.

Mr. Rumsfeld is on a five-nation tour of the region aimed at bolstering support for the U-S-led campaign against Taleban and suspected terrorist targets in Afghanistan. He is now in India, where he will hold talks with Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes Monday before returning home.

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