Musharraf praises Afghan troops surge, flays withdrawal plan



Washington: Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf has praised President Barack Obama for US troop surge in Afghanistan, but faulted him for setting a timeline for their withdrawal.

Speaking in the American state of Florida as part of a US lecture tour, former president Musharraf applauded Obama's decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, but said that setting a timeline for their withdrawal is an "indication of weakness."

Musharraf called the US troop surge in Afghanistan "a very correct action," but criticised Obama's stated intention to begin withdrawing troops in mid-2011.

"We have to show a resolve, ladies and gentlemen, a resolve to fight and win," Musharraf said. "That is what will scare them. Otherwise, they will be encouraged....Please don't give an indication of weakness," he was quoted as saying by Palm Beach Post newspaper.

"We have to win" in Afghanistan, Musharraf, who seized power in a bloodless 1999 coup, said adding "We have to defeat this".

The former Pakistani ruler underlined that "losing and quitting is not an option". "When we talk of quitting, we cannot make it time-related. It has to be effect-related...We ought to be there until we win," he asserted.

Musharraf said the US is distrusted in the Muslim world because it is seen as "totally pro-Israel." But he said Obama "has started on a very positive note in the Muslim world...I wish him well."

Musharraf, in the midst of a US lecture tour, spoke on Tuesday for about an hour to a crowd of more than 300 at a Kravis Center luncheon to raise money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County in Florida.

PTI