Musharraf: Troop debate shows U.S. weak
Mr. Musharraf conceded that insurgents cross the border but said that money and weapons were flowing primarily from Afghanistan into Pakistan, not the other way around.
Asked whether the ISI was still helping the Taliban in order to hedge against a U.S. withdrawal and oppose Indian interests in Afghanistan, he denied it.
“I don’t think that is correct at all,” Mr. Musharraf said. “ISI behaves as they are ordered by the government. They never go against government policy.”
He added, “If our attitude is that the [Pakistani] army and ISI are the culprits, God save all of us.”
Asked about Pakistan’s previous support of the Taliban, Mr. Musharraf said that Pakistan had no other option after the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan but to recognize the Taliban because a rival movement, the Northern Alliance, was supported by India and other opponents of Pakistan.
“Is it in our interest to be on the Taliban side now? No,” Mr. Musharraf said.
Mr. Musharraf also denied reports that Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan sold nuclear weapons materials and designs to Iran, North Korea and Libya with the knowledge of the Pakistani government. A purported letter from Mr. Khan making such assertions was delivered to a British journalist, Simon Henderson, who wrote about the exchange in the Sunday Times of London earlier this month.
In 2004, Mr. Musharraf, still Pakistan’s leader, pardoned Mr. Khan but put him under house arrest, which continued until February this year.
Mr. Musharraf, noting that Mr. Khan was considered a “hero to the man on the street” in Pakistan, said dealing with him after the exposure that he sold nuclear material to other countries was “the most difficult situation I ever confronted” but denied that the Pakistani government was complicit in Mr. Khan’s nuclear black market.
“It is absolutely wrong to think that the Pakistan government was involved in proliferation,” he said. “It was done by himself as an individual who proliferated.”
He would not elaborate on how much influence Mr. Khan had in aiding Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear aspirations and stated that every nation with nuclear weapons has received nuclear information from some other state.