OTTAWA (AFP) – Western attempts to crush the Taliban with brute military force must be underpinned by diplomatic efforts to bring stability to Afghanistan, Pakistan’s president told a Canadian newspaper.
“We have to have a multi-pronged strategy,” President Pervez Musharraf said in an interview with the Toronto-based Globe and Mail.
“In Afghanistan it is only the military strategy which is working now.”
“(The) political element is the negotiations between warring factions. Who are the warring factions? Warring factions are the Afghan government and the coalition forces on one side, and the militant Taliban and even non-Taliban,” he wrote, advocating “some form of negotiations between these two.”
“Maybe, there are groups who want to give up militancy and negotiate … so I can’t lay down whether you negotiate with the Taliban, but (if) they want to go on fighting, you don’t negotiate with them, take a military angle. You negotiate, you develop contacts with people who are not for fighting.”
In the interview, Musharraf also rejected criticism that his country has not done enough to stem militants’ attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan.
“I would tell everyone: Come and learn from us. We are sitting here knowing exactly what is happening on ground,” he said.
“You sitting in the West don’t know anything. So, don’t teach me, come and learn from us. Come and understand the environment. And then decide on what has to be done and what doesn’t have to be done. We are doing more than any other country in the world.”
Musharraf also said he was preoccupied with growing protests at home after his suspension of the nation’s top judge and riots in the country’s largest city Karachi, and a stand-off between the government and Islamists holed up in an Islamabad mosque.
But he insisted he would not declare martial law to quell the violence, which he blamed on opposition parties, before October elections.