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Bombing to Continue During Ramadan

The US has decided to continue with its air strikes against Afghanistan during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

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The U.S. F/A18 Hornet, armed with guided bombs, prepares to launch strikes against Afghanistan.

The White House has confirmed that bombing will not be suspended during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins in mid-November.

Several Islamic leaders fear that continuing air strikes during Ramadan - a month-long period of fasting for Muslims around the world - could cause major unrest in their countries.

But US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said the US "could not afford" to pause.

At the same time, the Pentagon confirmed that it was preparing to substantially increase the number of troops on the ground in Afghanistan - currently estimated to be fewer than 100.

Meanwhile B-52 bombers resumed their attacks on Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia north of Kabul on Friday, pounding the strategic Tutakhan hills. The Taliban claim that American bombs hit one of the country's biggest power plants, cutting electricity supplies to the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar and the city of Lashkargah.

The Pakistani-based Afghan Islamic Press said on Friday that the Taliban had arrested 25 followers of tribal leader Hamid Karzai, a supporter of deposed King Zahir Shah, and planned to execute some.

A Taliban minister in Kabul, quoted by the agency, said the Taliban attacked Karzai's camp on Thursday, forcing him to flee to the hills after a battle in which two of his men were killed. But Hamid's brother, Ahmed Karzai has denied the news.

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