Musharraf lists West’s ‘three blunders’

Musharraf said that Pakistan faces threat from al Qaeda terrorists.

Lahore: Former Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf has alleged that the West committed three blunders years back, the outcome of which Pakistan and Afghanistan are still bearing in the form of terror threats.

Speaking at the Asia Society’s Texas Centre, Musharraf referred to ‘three blunders’ that contributed to the terror threat in the region, The Nation reported.

He blamed the US and the West for arming and encouraging the mujahideen to wage war in Afghanistan against the Soviets- a move that introduced militancy in that country- and then abandoning the war-ravaged country following the withdrawal of Soviet troops.

“So the first blunder, in 1989, was abandoning the place without any rehabilitation or resettlement, (which) gave rise to al Qaeda and then the Taliban,” he said.

Defending his decision to recognise the Taliban government in Afghanistan, Musharraf said he aimed to “change them (the Taliban) from within,” and added that the West’s failure to do that constituted the second blunder.

The third blunder, according to him, was the failure to push for a political solution when militarily, the post-9/11 coalition had the upper hand.

Musharraf also stressed that joining the coalition to fight terrorism was in Pakistan’s self-interest.

“I want to underline this because there are now expressions in the West and the US that we are not doing enough or that our heart is not in the issue. Wrong, Sir. Nobody in Pakistan would like to have Talibanisation of Pakistan,” he added.

The former president also said that Pakistan faces threat from al Qaeda terrorists, who exist “in small numbers” in the country’s western tribal areas.