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Musharraf Urges Islamic Militants to Leave Pakistan - 2002-07-12

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has urged militants from other Islamic countries to leave Pakistan. In a televised address to the nation Friday, he said there is no room in the country for Islamic militancy.

President Musharraf says all "foreign" fighters should surrender and ask Pakistan for help in being repatriated. He says these people are those who fought against Soviet occupation forces in neighboring Afghanistan with the help of the United States.

President Musharraf says now they have a different agenda. Pakistan, he says, has its own problems and it does not want to be part of their agenda.

Hundreds of Taleban and al-Qaida fighters are believed to have taken refuge in Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal after fleeing U.S. forces who have been hunting for them in neighboring Afghanistan.

Pakistani soldiers have also been trying to capture these Taleban and al Qaida forces with the help of the United States. In his speech President Musharraf denied reports that American troops are operating in Pakistan. He says that only a dozen U.S. experts are helping Pakistan to hunt suspected al-Qaida and Taleban fugitives.