Finish up before the fast, Musharraf urges US
October 23 2001 at 06:18am
Washington - Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said on Monday he wanted to see the US military campaign in Afghanistan wrapped up in one month, arguing that a lengthier operation would have "negative effects" on the Muslim world.
"One would hope and wish that this campaign comes to an end before the month of Ramadan, and one would hope for restraint during the month of Ramadan because this would certainly have some negative effects in the Muslim world," Musharraf told CNN interviewer Larry King.
Muslims are expected to begin celebrating Ramadan around November 17, but US officials say they have no timetable for routing terrorism and are preparing for a long war.
The Pakistani leader - who has allowed the US military to use Pakistani airspace, offered logistical support and agreed to share intelligence - said he hoped "the military objectives, as I said, do get achieved within this duration so that the operation comes to an end".
Anti-US demonstrations have rocked Pakistan since the beginning of US and British air and missile strikes against targets in Afghanistan on October 7, with local militants accusing the US of unleashing a war against Islam.
Musharraf insisted that he and his government enjoyed broad support in Pakistan.
"But my problem arises when the same feelings - fraternal feelings - do not exist with the United States as they existed in the 1980s, when we were fighting a war in Afghanistan together."
The Pakistani president said Afghanistan's next government had to ensure unity and stability and should be the "broad-based multi-ethnic government representative of all the ethnic groups and (take) into account the ethnic composition of Afghanistan".
Asked if the Northern Alliance, currently fighting the troops of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban regime, should have a role in this body, Musharraf replied: "Well, they are a part of Afghanistan, certainly."