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Northern Alliance Asks for 'Concrete' Aid - 2001-11-01

Afghanistan's opposition Northern Alliance is calling on the international community not to stop its military campaign against suspected terrorist targets in Afghanistan, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. A Northern Alliance spokesman in Washington also welcomed assistance it has been receiving from the United States, but said opposition fighters in Afghanistan want more concrete aid.

There have been calls in the Muslim world for a halt in the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan during the month of Ramadan, which begins in mid-November. But spokesman Haron Amin, whose Northern Alliance represents the multi-ethnic Muslim opposition in Afghanistan, disagrees. "We believe that the holy month of Ramadan, during which the Koran was revealed to us, that this is a month for fasting," he said. "It is not a month during which you stop combating terrorism."

Mr. Amin says the Northern Alliance will continue fighting. He asserted that any pause would only help the ruling Taleban, which is protecting prime terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden. "We hope that the international community will realize that any pause in the air campaign on the Taleban is going to give them the ability to mobilize additional forces for them to be able to gain strength here and there, and for them to be able to do the appropriate transfer of men from one area to another," said Mr. Amin.

Mr. Amin expresses confidence that Northern Alliance fighters are able to defeat the Taleban, but he says U.S. aid so far has not been adequate to make what he described as a major move. "What we are saying specifically is give us the tools, and we shall finish the job," he said. "Certainly, we have our own way of conducting battles in Afghanistan. We strongly believe that reliance solely on Special-ops, or let's say just bombardment, is not going to get the job [done]."

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Tuesday acknowledged that a small group of American soldiers is working with Northern Alliance fighters on the ground in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon says it has also provided food and ammunition to Northern Alliance fighters. But U.S. Defense department officials have said problems with logistics, transportation and weapons compatibility have prevented the United States from supplying opposition fighters in Afghanistan with more ammunition