West responsible for making Pak breeding ground for international terrorism: Musharraf

Written by: Nairita Das
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Berlin, Oct 5 (ANI): Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has blamed the West for having made Pakistan the breeding ground for international terrorism.

In an interview to der Spiegel, Musharraf said that the Pakistani civil society was "poisoned" for 10 years when the nation fought the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

"It was jihad and we brought in militants from all over the world, with the West and Pakistan together in the lead role. After the withdrawal of the Soviet troops, the West left Pakistan with 25,000 mujahedeen and Al-Qaida fighters, without any plan for rehabilitation or resettlement," he noted.

He rued that the country had to cope with this huge challenge, adding, "Now you expect Pakistan to pull out a magic wand and make all of this suddenly disappear? That is not doable- this will take time."

When asked how this problem could be solved, the former dictator said, "You should reinforce the ancient Pashtun clans who are not ideologically aligned with the Taliban to govern Afghanistan and to fight the Taliban. That's my strong advice."

He pointed out that the West made "three blunders so far," the first being that they abandoned Afghanistan in 1989 after the Soviet withdrawal from the country.

"Then, after 9/11, they fought the Taliban instead of strengthening the Pashtuns who could have taken on the radical Taliban. Now you try to negotiate with so-called "moderate Taliban," but there is no such thing as a moderate Taliban. There are Taliban and Pashtuns. But as I have always said: All Taliban are Pashtun, but not all Pashtun people are Taliban," he added.

Musharraf further said that the "fourth and worst blunder would be to quit without winning. Then militancy will prevail not only in Pakistan, India and Kashmir, but perhaps also in Europe, the United Kingdom and in the United States. That's my belief."

In reply to a question pertaining to Pakistan's seriousness in ighting former Mujahedeen heroes like Haqqani and his son Siraj, the 67-year old replied, "If you hear the new statements from the West that they plan to withdraw their troops and leave Afghanistan in 2011, then Pakistan should think of how to handle the withdrawal scenario."

"Pakistan needs to find a strategy for its existence, how to tackle the situation with Seraj Haqqani, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the Pakistani Taliban and Mullah Omar. When the West quits, we will be on our own with them," he added.

When asked about the US offer made to him in exchange for getting control of the nuclear weapons in Pakistan, he replied, "I would be a traitor if I had ever given our nuclear weapons to the United States. This capability is our pride and it will never be compromised." (ANI)

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