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Ramadan Bombing Halt Unlikely

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30, 2001 – The United States is sensitive to allies' concerns, but it is unlikely to curtail the campaign against terrorism in Afghanistan during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said Oct. 30.

Clarke said the United States is sensitive to regional concerns, but that Muslims have fought during Ramadan throughout history. The holy month begins Nov. 18 this year.

"We are not going to telegraph what we are going to do," Clarke said during an informal briefing. She said the United States will listen to the concerns and make its decision. Ultimately, President Bush will decide on the question with input from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, Clarke said.

"No one takes a holiday on us," she said, when asked about the continuing fight.

She said U.S. forces continued to hit Taliban and Al Qaeda front-line positions on Oct. 29. She said 89 sorties hit positions Mazar-e Sharif, Jalalabad, Sherbergan and Kandahar.

In addition, U.S. aircraft dropped leaflets and conducted Commando Solo II radio-broadcast missions. The airborne drops of humanitarian daily rations continued, near Mazar-e Sharif, bringing the total delivered to about a million.

On Oct. 30, U.S. forces planned 95 sorties against Taliban and Al Qaeda targets. U.S. forces will also continue leafleting and food deliveries.

Clarke said the U.S. military is taking the Department of Justice alert about possible terrorist attacks in the United States seriously. While not giving specifics, she said U.S. aircraft are on "strip alert" and all commanders are reviewing security precautions.

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