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Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 12:31 GMT
Your questions on the war
Tank Green in Philadelphia, USA asks:

If memory serves me correctly, there were a few South Asia/Asia Pacific countries that were opposed to the bombing of Afghanistan. Could you please tell me who they were? I have been searching your site to no avail.

BBC News Online's Andrew Webster writes:

Some of the stongest opposition to, and conversely some of the staunchest backing for the US-led war in Afghanistan has come from the Asia-Pacific region.

Malaysia has been the most vocal critic. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said the military campaign would kill innocent people without achieving its aims of defeating terrorism. Earlier this month he told the BBC he risked losing support from his own people if he was "seen to be going all out unthinkingly supporting America". Muslims make up about 60% of Malaysia's 22-million population.

Senior figures in the Indonesian government have also called for the US-led attacks to stop

Senior figures in the Indonesian government have also called for the US-led attacks to stop. Vice President Hamzah Haz said the bombing campaign was killing civilians. He also said the US had not provided adequate proof that Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the 11 September attacks. President Megawati Sukarnoputri was the first Muslim leader to visit Washington after 11 September attacks and strongly condemned the attacks. But she has had to tread a delicate line because she depends on backing from Muslim parties at home while needing US and international financial support to tackle Indonesia's crippled economy. Some Islamic extremists in Indonesia - which has the world's largest Muslim population - threatened violence against US and British targets if the bombing is not stopped.

Australia has sent about 1,500 naval and special forces personnel to the region - some of them may see direct action. Australian Prime Minister John Howard made much play of his staunch backing for the "war on terror" during his recent victorious general election campaign.

Japan too is sending naval support, though its military will only provide logistical support. But even to get Japanese ships out of the harbour required changes to the country's post-World War II, pacifist constitution and considerable political effort on the part of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

China has broadly supported the campaign war but has repeatedly warned against causing unneccesary civilian casualties. It has also called for the "war against terrorism" to be widened, citing separatist movements among the Muslim Uighur population in its western province of Xinjiang and Tibetan independence groups. International human rights organisations including the UNHCR have expressed concern that China is trying to exploit reaction to the events of 11 September to launch an internal crackdown.

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