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'Karzai behind Bush plainspeak to Musharraf'

Bush lectured Musharraf, during his recent visit to Pakistan, on the need to get tougher on the Taliban.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2006 08:49 IST

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai was able to convince US President George W Bush, during their recent summit that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was not doing enough to defeat armed radicals.

The Newsweek magazine quoted Pakistani officials as saying that following Karzai's briefing, Bush lectured Musharraf, during his recent visit to Pakistan, on the need to get tougher on the Taliban.

"Indeed, Musharraf seemed visibly shaken when he, during a joint press conference on March 4 with Bush, heard the US President say that he had come to Islamabad to determine whether or not Musharraf is as committed as he had been in the past," the report said.

"Musharraf got a big rap on the knuckles from Bush for not doing enough," it quoted Pakistani author and Afghan expert Ahmed Rashid as saying.

After Bush's visit, he says, Afghan officials were very happy and confident. "The Americans privately came down on Karzai's side," the report said.

But the magazine said that whether or not Karzai's complaints are valid, his constant criticism of Musharraf is a risky move.

"A prolonged feud could hurt Pakistan jeopardising its large aid package from America. But Afghanistan might be crippled if the quarrel gets out of hand. An alienated Musharraf could make life easier for the guerrillas, and Afghanistan can ill afford to lose Pakistan's crucial economic and military support," the report said.

First Published: Mar 13, 2006 08:49 IST