News / Asia

    Ex-Pakistani Leader Defends Role in Afghanistan

    Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf in VOA studio, 11 Nov 2010
    Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf in VOA studio, 11 Nov 2010

    Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf discounts allegations that his country's powerful intelligence agency has been backing the Taliban. But he also says the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, or ISI, must counter what he says are Indian plots against Pakistan hatched in Afghanistan.

    In an interview at VOA in Washington, Musharraf deflected charges that the ISI is backing the Taliban.

    Former Pakistan President Musharraf Speaks with VOA's Gary Thomas - Part 1

    Former Pakistan President Musharraf Speaks with VOA's Gary Thomas - Part 2

    "ISI has been attacked by the Taliban umpteen number of times.  Their offices have been attacked, bombed, suicide bomb attacks, they have had about 300 operatives killed," Musharraf said.  "Now on the one side, the Taliban are attacking and killing them. On the other, we think they are supporting Taliban. There's a mismatch somewhere.  So we need to analyze what is really happening."

    Terrorist plots

    Musharraf said he does not subscribe to the concept of strategic depth, advanced by some Pakistani military thinkers, that looks to Afghanistan as a place to blunt Indian influence in the region.  But the former general and ex-president went on to accuse India of fomenting terrorist actions against Pakistan out of the Indian embassy in Kabul and consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad.

    "ISI is expected to protect Pakistan's interests. That doesn't mean that they are doing this through Taliban," he noted. "I don't even know what they are doing against [the threat, and] how they are doing it. But the United States and our allies in Afghanistan must be conscious of the sensitivity of Pakistan, and they must help Pakistan in countering anything that India is doing [to Pakistan] by stabbing us in the back."

    India has accused Pakistan of backing groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Kashmiri armed organization which intelligence agencies have linked to the Mumbai terrorist attack two years ago that killed nearly 200 people. But Musharraf denies any government link to it or other militant groups.

    Combination tour

    As an army general, Musharraf took power in a bloodless coup in 1999.  He stayed in office until 2008 when, faced with the threat of impeachment, he resigned.  Now he seeks to re-enter politics with an eye to running again in 2013.  He is in the United States on what he says is a combination lecture tour and political campaign among Pakistani émigrés.

    During his tenure, Musharraf was sharply criticized in the United States and other countries for his attempts to strike peace deals with pro-Taliban tribal leaders in the Afghan border areas. He still defends the deals, all of which fell apart, as part of a strategy to woo ethnic Pashtuns away from the Taliban, and says the U.S. is now trying the same thing.

    "Are you not talking of now dealing with moderate Taliban, or the Taliban themselves?  When I was doing this in 2002 or '03, that I was trying to wean away Pashtuns, everyone thought I was double-dealing," Musharraf said. "Are you double dealing now that you want to talk to the Taliban?  Wasn't I better off that seven years back I was doing exactly what you are trying to do now?"

    ISI's role

    Asked if any talks can reach a political accommodation in Afghanistan without Pakistan's input, Musharraf said it would be difficult - and that the ISI could play a positive role.

    "ISI knows the environment, ISI knows the people, ISI understands the environment, much more than anyone else. So therefore ISI can contribute towards anything that we want to do," he said.

    The former president dismissed the notion that the Pakistan army has not been sufficiently aggressive in trying to clear out al-Qaida and Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan's tribal areas.  He also accused the U.S. of failing to trust the Pakistan Army and the ISI.

    You May Like

    Ugandan Opposition Candidate: Only Intimidation, Vote Buying Can Prevent Victory

    Kizza Besigye says he has been drawing large crowds and claims he has widespred support ahead of Feb. 18 vote

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    Sanctions Just Got Real for Over 54,000 North Koreans

    Shuttering of Kaesong complex ends virtually any hope of peaceful settlement to long-standing tensions on Korean peninsula in near future

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.