And we didn't listen to that. Even now, today, in Afghanistan, the dominant role is being played by Panchiris (PH). That should not be the case. So therefore, we have to move toward the Paktuns, and I have never said that move first or second towards anything. We have to have a three-track-- approach. And all of them, simultaneously. We cannot give -- give up the military because you have to speak from a position of strength, to have effects. And -- never give up the strength part, the military part.
CHRIS CUOMO: Even though you're dealing with a population that considers any presence there of U.S. troops a threat and hostile.
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes. Yes, that's right. That's right.
CHRIS CUOMO: How is that str -- how is that a position of strength, if the people there see your presence of military as hostile and they don't respect it?
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Well, you have to -- when you go on a political track, and a socioeconomic track, you have to-- as I said, win over the saner elements, who do-- who should be convinced that when we bring peace or semblance of peace, and we will want to do political -- we want -- reach a political settlement agreement, the troops will leave.
You have to give them a hope of leaving, while you are duly dealing politically. You have to convince them that the only way that you are going to leave is -- is if there is some kind of a political arrangement, and that you will carry out socioeconomic development, which will be good for their-- for themselves. We have to convince them, on this line -- the line of action --
CHRIS CUOMO: How --
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: -- now that we are there.
CHRIS CUOMO: How long do you think it will take?
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: I can't say. I can't say. It's a long -- it's a long haul, certainly.
CHRIS CUOMO: As long as Iraq?
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: No, can't say again. It -- it is a long haul. You -- we -- we have to -- instead of concentrating on timing, I've always said, let it be (UNINTEL). We always talk of how long, in terms of two years, three years. I don't believe in that. You cannot have it time related. It has to be effect-related. Let's talk of effects, what effects we want to create. And then whether it takes two years, four years or ten years.
CHRIS CUOMO: What would happen if we left?
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: It'd be very serious. There would be destabilization. Afghanistan certainly, and certainly it would be the center of all sanctuaries of al Qaeda. Maybe they grow and maybe they come under a unified command structure, emanating from those -- from Afghanistan and from the mountains of Pakistan. They will spread their parts (?) into Pakistan, especially in the frontier province and beyond. And may I venture to say even create effects in India.
CHRIS CUOMO: Because the theory is, well, they don't like that we're there. They hate us for being there, and everyone who (UNINTEL) I think is with them as allies hate us for being there. We're being imperialists. So what happens if you leave, and we continue to support our allies, Pakistan, India, now the Iraqi government, and let them deal with what's going on in the region? This is your neighborhood, not our neighborhood.