A senior Pentagon official says the United States is considering increasing its humanitarian aid efforts in Afghanistan, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told reporters (Friday) it is a time of year to concentrate on doing more in the area of humanitarian operations. But he also says pausing the war against the Taleban would not be doing the Afghan people any favors. Mr. Wolfowitz says when the war is over and the Afghan people are free to talk, the world will realize, in his words, how much Taleban oppression is hurting Muslims.
Mr. Wolfowitz says U-S officials acknowledge the importance of Ramadan. But he said it would make no difference if it were a Jewish, Christian or other holiday, U-S forces would act if they had a chance to capture the leader of the al-Qaida terrorist network, Osama bin Laden, or some of the fugitive's senior operatives.
The U-S official adds that the United States is trying to enlist more Afghans to fight the Taleban and foreign terrorists in the north and south. But he also says there is no reluctance or unwillingness among Pentagon leaders to send large numbers of U-S ground troops to Afghanistan.