Clerics Denounce Military Attacks

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan?Several influential clerics swiftly denounced U.S. and British retaliatory attacks on Afghanistan late Sunday, calling them an attack against Islam and grounds for holy war. One organization summoned Muslims to ?extend full support to their Afghan brothers.?

Pakistan?s government, which has thrown its support behind the U.S.-led coalition against terrorism, said it regretted diplomatic efforts did not succeed and called for the U.S. action to remain ?clearly targeted.?

The influential Afghan Defense Council, which is sympathetic to the Taliban, issued a call for holy war. The council, based in the eastern city of Lahore, comprises more than 30 religious and militant groups.

?We will support the Taliban physically and morally against the aggression of America,? said Riaz Durana, the council?s central leader.