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Rumsfeld, Musharraf Meet in Islamabad - 2001-11-05

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wraps up his five country tour of frontline states supporting the U.S. led military campaign in Afghanistan by visiting New Delhi. Late Sunday, Mr. Rumsfeld held talks with Pakistan's President, General Pervez Musharraf.

In Islamabad, Mr. Rumsfeld said the U.S. air strikes against terrorist and military targets in Afghanistan had forced the Taleban into a "static position" where they are unable to make any major military moves.

He says the Taleban are not functioning as a government and are only able use their power in limited enclaves - where he says they continue to impose their will on the Afghan people.

The defense secretary said his talks with Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf reinforced both countries belief that Afghanistan needs a broad-based post Taleban government.

But he gave no indication that the bombing campaign in Afghanistan would be suspended during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as President Musharraf has suggested.

"It is an important question and an issue that certainly all of us are sensitive to. The reality is that the threats of additional terrorist acts are there. They are credible, they are real and they offer the prospects of still thousands of more people being killed. Our task is to certainly be sensitive to the views in the region, but also to see that we aggressively deal with the terrorist networks that exist," the defense secretary said.

Mr. Rumsfeld also says the Taleban are storing ammunition in mosques, and using mosques as military command centers. He says the Taleban are placing heavy weapons near schools and hospitals and actively lying about civilian casualties.

Speaking earlier in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, following talks with President Islam Karimov, Secretary Rumsfeld said the military effort against terrorist targets in Afghanistan was making "measurable progress."

He said there had been no discussions of expanding the U.S. troop presence in Uzbekistan. He added that his five-country trip should not be interpreted as a sign that U.S. military action in Afghanistan is about to be expanded in any way.