PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: No, it doesn't concern. In '95, Taliban came into being in 1995 or '96. Now, and it swept across Afghanistan and captured 90 percent of Afghanistan. Pakistan and their-- their (UNINTEL) were in the northern alliance. Northern alliance were-- Taliban were all Paktuns. Northern Alliance-- (UNINTEL) Kazaras. Who was supporting them? India. Iran and Russia.
What choice does Pakistan have now? Who to align with? Safeguarding its own borders and-- its own interests. Who should-- should it align itself with northern alliance or the Taliban? Taliban have geographic contegrity (PH), ethnic contegrity. So it was quite clear that the governments, from 1995 onwards, no love lost for those governments.
They-- may have been (UNINTEL) Nawaz Sharif. But I think the policy of Pakistan was quite clear that we could not-- we have to have relations with the Taliban. And we had. We were only one who had a mission. And let me also am reminded of another thing that President Clinton. In those days, everyone was-- United States was telling me when I came on the scene in 1999.
"Why do we have relations with Taliban?" Because the whole world, we had broken off and-- they didn't have any relations. Saudi Arabian UE (?) had and they broke off. President Clinton came to Pakistan in the year 2000, and he told me that why Pakistan has relations with al Qaeda, with-- Taliban. Why would we deal with them?
And I told him that, "May I suggest, Mr. President, that you change your strategy also? My strategy is you open missions (?) there, recognize the Taliban and open missions there, so that we then can call in moderate Taliban from within." Had he listened with hindsight now, had that happened, maybe the Buddha statue would not have been destroyed. Maybe Osama bin Laden would not have-- this problem would have been resolved.
So my belief is that in order to influence anyone, whether is it Iran or not, Korea or Taliban or anyone, unless you have (UNINTEL) on them, how do you influence? You put somebody on against the wall, and you have sanctions. You don't give them anything. What control do you have on his-- responses? He-- he's not taking anything from you. Why should he listen to you? Give him something, have relations with them. You are dealing with them. You are talking to them. Then you control them.
So I think it was the wrong policy, absolutely, that you did not recognize the Taliban and we didn't have any missions. Had there been 100 missions there, now look at the impact. If there are 100 missions, and everybody's saying, "Get hold of Taliban. Remove-- remove Osama bin Laden from the scene. Otherwise we'll close down our missions." Or whatever, in addition you were doing for the Taliban, other than just merely having missions. We would have exercised some control over them. Some leverage over them.
CHRIS CUOMO: But you're saying you can't do that unless you have military might before it.