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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid