Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri yesterday fired a parting shot as the Asean summit wound up, saying the US-led military action in Afghanistan should be suspended. As leaders from the 10-state grouping and Japan, South Korea and China prepared to leave Brunei, Ms Megawati repeated her objections to the campaign, which she fears will lead to unnecessary civilian casualties. 'Indonesia is calling for a humanitarian pause . . . before the religious holidays, before the fasting month and Christmas,' she said. Her call for a halt to the military action in one of the world's poorest countries came as the civilian death toll in Afghanistan appeared to rise and disquiet spread in Indonesia, the most-populous Muslim country. Ms Megawati has been under domestic pressure to lead the call against the campaign against the Taleban regime and Osama bin Laden. US and British planes are in the fifth week of bombing the Central Asian country. Special forces have also been sent in. At the two-day Brunei summit, Ms Megawati and Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Muslim-dominated Malaysia, tried and failed to include a reference in the joint communique urging a halt to the bombing for humanitarian reasons. Objections from Singapore and other states ensured that the text remained free from the call. Asean operates by consensus and its statements reflect a position agreeable to all members, effectively handing each one a veto. The strongest language used by the delegates came in a joint statement on Monday, in which the leaders voiced their 'concern for the welfare of the innocent people as a result of the military action in Afghanistan and considered extending humanitarian assistance'. That was preceded by an ad hoc joint statement condemning terrorism and outlining steps to fight it, which was delivered on the eve of the summit on Sunday. During the summit, Ms Megawati has been supported by Dr Mahathir, who has used the gathering to reiterate his long-standing concerns that the US-led campaign is ineffective. He said the longer the campaign continued, the more people and governments would come out against it.