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Kamal Hyder: Afghan cleric's edict for help

CNN's Kamal Hyder reports from Kandahar, Afghanistan.
CNN's Kamal Hyder reports from Kandahar, Afghanistan.  

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CNN) -- As the U.S.-led bombing campaign in Afghanistan enters its fourth week, civilians have suffered increasing numbers of casualties and injuries.

Meanwhile, a head Islamic cleric in Afghanistan issued an edict Monday saying that Muslims throughout the world should come to defend his country against the United States.

In an interview with CNN's Kamal Hyder, Mufti Mohammed Masoom Afghani quoted from the Koran, saying that it is mandatory for all Muslims to assist their brethren when attacked. He also said not a single Taliban leader has been killed and predicted the war would not end any time soon.

Hyder is in Kandahar, where the Taliban have given him permission to file reports.

HYDER: It's a good afternoon here [in Kandahar] because it's very quiet.

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Earlier Monday, Mufti Mohammed Masoom Afghani, the head of the Ulemar Council of Afghanistan, said that an "infidel" country had attacked the Muslim country of Afghanistan and that it was therefore a request from the people of Afghanistan and the Ulemar for the Muslims of the world to come to the assistance of their Afghan brethren.

Of course, it must be remembered also that people say because of the Northern Alliance's push toward Kabul, the Pashtun population's feelings have been inflamed, and the effect this has on the future course of the battle remains to be seen.

But Taliban fighters on the other side remain defiant. They say that their morale is good. They say that they haven't suffered the casualties that Americans would have expected to inflict on these people.

Meanwhile, the attacks on Afghanistan, especially the Kandahar stronghold of the Taliban, continue. Monday morning we had several bombs being dropped on Kandahar as they shook the walls and basically rattled the windows.

CNN: Can you explain to us how it's playing in Afghanistan, especially around where you are in Kandahar, regarding the civilian deaths and the casualties?

HYDER: Well, the civilian population felt considerably secure in the earlier days of the war. Now they feel that they're as vulnerable as military targets. Civilian casualties have been high. People say over here ... that if you compare the civilian casualties with the Taliban casualties, then you will find that the civilian casualties are far greater.


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