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AMMAN - The Jordanian government said on Monday that a fatwa issued by the Islamist

جبهة العمل الإسلامي, Jabhat al-'Amal al-Islami, Islamic Action Front

Government rejects fatwa barring Muslims from assisting US, NATO troops in Afghanistan as offensive.

opposition barring Muslims from assisting US and NATO troops in Afghanistan was "offensive."

"The government rejects the fatwa because it is offensive to the significant armed forces' role in providing medical and humanitarian aid to the Afghan people and helping preserve their country's security and stability," Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi said in a statement.

"Jordan is proud of its armed forces and security apparatuses as well as their roles in Afghanistan, the Gaza Strip or any other place in the Arab and Muslim worlds."

The powerful Islamic Action Front (IAF) said in the non-binding religious edict on Sunday that "sending troops to help NATO and America in Afghanistan or any other country is forbidden."

"Muslims are not allowed to support non-Muslims in their aggression against other Muslims. Afghanistan is a Muslim country," added the IAF, the political arm of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood.

But Safadi, who is also government spokesman, insisted that Jordan "will continue to assist all brothers, including the Afghan people, in facing challenges.

"Nobody is allowed to offend Jordan by making irresponsible remarks and positions that seek to tarnish its role and the role of its armed forces," he said.

"Jordan will do whatever it takes to protect itself and protect Jordanians and their safety and security."

Jordan, a key US ally, has acknowledged it had a counter-terrorism role in Afghanistan after the death in a January suicide bombing of a senior intelligence officer who was also a member of the royal family.

His death, along with seven US Central Intelligence Agency personnel, spotlighted for the first time Jordan's role in the international coalition in the war-hit country.

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