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Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf says most people in his country are opposed to the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan, and he hopes it will end as soon as possible.

Speaking at a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Musharraf also said that "moderate" Taliban members should be a part of any government that succeeds the current Taliban military government of Afghanistan.

"Former king Zahir Shah, political leaders, moderate Taliban leaders, elements from the northern alliance (Afghan resistance fighters), tribal elders, Afghans living outside their country - all can play a role in this government," said the Pakistani president.

The U.S. is attacking strongholds of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden because of the Taliban government's refusal to hand over bin Laden, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 hijackings and suicide crashes that killed over 5,000 people in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Pakistan has been a key ally of the U.S. in the subsequent war on terror and Powell, who will next visit India and China, recognized that fact in his public comments in Islamabad.

Powell says he "reassured Pakistan of America's support, and the support of the international community, as Pakistan joins the international community in this campaign."

The U.S. Secretary of State says he and Musharraf "discussed ways to promote stability in South Asia," including the border dispute between Pakistan and India over Kashmir, where fighting broke out on Monday.

Powell's visit was marked by anti-U.S. protests by supporters of bin Laden and the Taliban.

Musharraf talked about his critics, at the news conference with Powell.

"Certainly a majority of the people are against the operation in Afghanistan," explained Musharraf. "They would like to see this operation be terminated as fast as possible. That is what I would urge the coalition - to achieve the military objectives and terminate the operation."

The Pakistani president at the same time said that "the majority of the people of Pakistan are with my actions."

Pakistan's Interior Minister, Moinuddin Haider, was more blunt.

In an interview with Reuters Television, Moinuddin warned that "if there are more casualties, prolonged (war) - it will bring strains on the Pakistan law-enforcing agencies, which are overstretched."

"Even now, they have been in the arena for over a month," said Moinuddin, adding that Pakistan will not hesitate to use the army to control unrest if that becomes necessary.

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