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Musharraf Calls for Ramadan Bombing Pause - 2001-11-07

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has appealed for a pause in the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan during the Muslim holy month, Ramadan. During a brief stop in Turkey, General Musharraf also called for a swift conclusion to the military campaign against terrorist and Taleban targets.

Speaking at a news conference in Istanbul, General Musharraf said continuing the military campaign in Afghanistan through the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would have negative effects in the Islamic world.

He said he hopes to discuss the issue with President Bush.

The Pakistani leader stopped in Turkey as part of a tour that is taking him to Iran, France, Britain and the United States in a bid to garner support for a pause in the month-long U.S.-led bombing campaign against Taleban forces.

U.S. and British officials have said that military operations will not be interrupted during the Muslim month of fasting. Turkey, which is predominantly Muslim, says it supports the decision to continue the military campaign.

Turkey, the NATO alliance's only Muslim member, has gained strategic and diplomatic prominence in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Last week, Turkey became the first Islamic nation to commit troops to the U.S.-led campaign.

On Wednesday, Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer left for Tajikistan, where he is to meet with the ousted president of Afghanistan, Burhanuddin Rabbani. The Turkish president's visit comes ahead of a planned gathering of Afghan opposition leaders in the Turkish capital Ankara.

Afghan opposition leaders say representatives of the exiled former kind of Afghanistan, Mohammed Zahir Shah, and the opposition Northern Alliance will seek to set the framework of an interim government that could replace the Taleban.