Musharraf blames West for terrorism

The Pakistan President says that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda elements were initially promoted by the West.

india Updated: Sep 30, 2006 19:09 IST

In yet another controversial statement, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has virtually blamed the US and other western countries for terrorism emanating from his country, saying Taliban and Al-Qaeda constituted elements, which were initially promoted by the West.

"Terrorism is not a Pakistani phenomenon but an import to the country... The whole world is to be blamed, it (terrorism) is an import to the country," Musharraf remarked while speaking at the Oxford University on Friday.

Mujahideen, who were brought, trained and financed by the West to fight Soviet troops coalesced into Al-Qaeda after the withdrawal of the invading (Soviet) troops, he said.

Referring to Taliban, the General said the members of the religious seminaries were also recruited, financed and armed by the US and the West.

He, however, acknowledged that Pakistan had supported Taliban against Soviet troops.

After the Soviet defeat, Pakistan was left high and dry by the world to fend off 30,000 Mujahideen and to deal with over four million Afghan refugees, said Musharraf against whom the realisation is growing worldover that he is not a sincere ally in war against terror.

The comments came days after Musharraf said that after the 9/11 attacks, the US had threatened to bomb Pakistan to stone age if it did not cooperate in the war against terror, generating much heat.

He had also said that CIA had paid money for transfer of Al-Qaeda cadres.

Facing growing attack for not doing enough to control terrorism emanating from Pakistan, Musharraf said: "The West or anyone else, who are criticising us, needs to understand that we need assistance and understanding to address the issue."

He said, "We are fighting terrorism in our own national interest. It also happens to be in the interest of the global community and so, we are collaborating with the US and the West."

Musharraf said his government was pursuing a holistic strategy to fight terrorism and extremism, adding that without addressing extremism, the fight against terrorism will never succeed.

Seeking to underline Pakistan's role in fight against terrorism, he said without the support of his government and ISI, "you (West) will be brought down to your knees".

He told BBC radio in an interview: "Pakistan is the main ally. If we were not with you, you would not manage anything. Let that be clear."

Responding to the view that Pakistan was not a good ally in the global fight against terror because of its links with terrorism, Musharraf said: "If the ISI is not with you (west), you will fail.... Remember my words, if the ISI is not with you and Pakistan is not with you, you will lose in Afghanistan".

Musharraf has been under fire in the wake of leakage of report of British Defence Ministry's think-tank which said that ISI was indirectly supporting extremism in Afghanistan, Iraq and Britan.

First Published: Sep 30, 2006 19:09 IST