Transcript: Chris Cuomo Interviews Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: At that time, it was not the situation. That situation was different. You didn't have military, and you should not-- never have had military there. You should just have had a mission, an embassy there, dealing with the Taliban, dealing with Mullah Omar. That doesn't mean that you love him. If Pakistan has a mission, we don't love him. We-- we don't mean that his thoughts should be imposed on Pakistan, but we have a mission there. We have a mission in Delhi, with India. That doesn't mean that we are great chummy friends.

CHRIS CUOMO: So the mistake for the U.S. was ever using the military in Afghanistan in the first place.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: I'm sorry?

CHRIS CUOMO: So the mistake for the U.S. was using the military in the beginning, that it should have used political and economic in the beginning--

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes. I mean, (UNINTEL) according to an environment, you can't talk of how you reacted in 1995, and think that the same reaction should have been after 9/11. Now 9/11-- reaction has to be seen, according to 9/11-- 2001 environment. And '95-- response is to be seen in the environment there. I'm talking of '96, '97. There is no military. Why should the military have been there at all?

CHRIS CUOMO: There was no threat there--

(OVERTALK)

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Just open an embassy there. And deal with the Taliban, deal with Mullah Omar, influence his mind. All together or all of us would have influenced. If that Buddha statue, when it was being-- to be destroyed by the Taliban by Mullah Omar, the prime minister of Japan, Sri Lanka-- Thailand and president of Sri Lanka, they all rang me up and they spoke to me. "Save the Buddha statue."

And I told them I've been shouting around. Open your missions there. Open embassies. We-- joined people that told Mullah Omar, "If you do anything, we are all going to leave." Look at the pressure on the mind of the man. But now, we are all alone and you have put them on-- he is nothing and-- really you can't do anything. You are not giving him anything. Why-- you don't exercise any leverage. We must exercise leverage over anybody, any country, any individual who we want to influence-- to whom we want to dictate or tell something. If you don't have the leverage, how can you make him accept anything that you want?

CHRIS CUOMO: What is your message to the American people about what they should think about the situation in Afghanistan and what needs to be done?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Well, the message is certainly that-- we have to win. And quitting is not an option, like I said. And in that, we must accept the duties. We must be prepared. We must avoid, as much as possible, casualties, but when soldiers move and armies act, casualties will be there, and we should accept casualties. We should be bold enough, brave enough, as a nation, to accept casualties. Don't create a history-- against that, because that encourages the Taliban and al Qaeda.

(OFF-MIC CONVERSATION)

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Supreme court, yes, because he -- acted against the supreme court chief justice and removed the chief justice from there, yes, by bribing -- the other side and --

(OFF-MIC CONVERSATION)

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: They -- they captured, under him. He captured the supreme court! (UNINTEL) people crossed the -- gates and went inside, captured, took over the supreme court. (LAUGHTER) And we want him as a leader of Pakistan. Very good.

(OFF-MIC CONVERSATION)

END OF AUDIO

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