KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri
Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on Friday the United States should
consider stopping its air strikes on Afghanistan which have
entered their sixth day.
Asked by reporters whether the US should halt the attacks
now, he said: "Well they should of course. We are
against such an attack because I don't think it is going to
help in combating terrorism."
Speaking after opening the second Organisation of Islamic
Conference (OIC) Tourism Ministers meeting here, he said the
US air bombings might hit many innocent people but not the
"It should be pointed out that the alleged terrorists
were not even Afghans," he said.
The US-led attacks are targeted at the ruling Taliban which
is said to be harbouring Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden,
the prime suspect in the Sept 11 terrorist atacks on the
World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in
It was reported that according to Taliban figures, the
number of deaths in Afghanistan from the attacks since
Sunday now stands at around 220.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysia would request the United Nations
(UN) to hold a special conference to discuss and define
"We are writing to (UN) Secretary-General Koffi Annan
to ask him to convene a meeting on terrorism," he said,
adding that such a conference was needed as there was a lot
of confusion on the subject.
"Some people who are fighting for their own
independence are also described as terrorists. Also, the
things that people can do or should not do must be
"Even in war, we are not supposed to use gas in order
to fight against the enemy. Even if people have to fight for
their own independence there are certain things they can't
do, among which of course is to kill innocent people,"
Dr Mahathir was also asked on Malaysia's stand regarding the
evidence presented by the US on the Al-Qaeda movement in
"Well, the evidence is not specific. They indicated
certain things but there is nothing that we can do. There is
no role for Malaysia," he said.
To another question, the prime minister said he expected
Islamic countries to emerge stronger than ever from the
current period of misconception over Islam and terrorism.
He said: "Over time, it will be shown that it is just
not Muslims who are terrorists. Other people are also
terrorists. Our problem now is that certain segment of the
world media focuses only on Muslim terrorism and not
terrorism by the other people."
On another note, he said the OIC had responded well to the
present crisis and was united in its stand on the US attacks
World Tourism Organisation secretary-general Francesco
Frangialli said the Sept 11 terroris attacks on the US had
caused a 20-30 per cent drop in reservation bookings
Unfortunately, the North African and Southeast Asian
countries were more affected, especially the Muslim nations,
This was unfair because people can travel safely in these
countries, he said.
Frangialli said a World Travel Market meeting would be held
in London in the next few weeks to send the message to the
world that it was safe to travel now