Transcript: Chris Cuomo Interviews Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf sat down for an interview with "Good Morning America" co-anchor Chris Cuomo Sept. 23, 2009. The following transcript of their interview has been edited for clarity.

CHRIS CUOMO: Mr. Musharraf, let's start with you and your future. Have you given thought yet to returning to Pakistan, returning to power?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Well -- I give thought to what is happening in Pakistan. And I give thought to what the people of Pakistan are desiring, and I also give thought to whether I can do anything for Pakistan. Collectively -- I have to take a decision based on all these three elements.

CHRIS CUOMO: Is a decision coming soon?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF:I wouldn't be able to say that --

(OVERTALK)

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: One has to look at this environment, and the issue of timing, of course, is -- very, very important. So if I was to say it's coming very soon, or a little later -- I think the -- I'm very conscious that the timing is extremely important -- but one thing is -- very sure, that I will return to Pakistan.

CHRIS CUOMO: Are you concerned that if you return, you may be arrested. You may be put on trial for treason.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Well, these are realities which one has to face. But however, I am very sure of one thing, that whatever I have done till now, constitutionally and legally, there is no charge against me. So if at all, anything happens against me, it will be not according to the constitution and not according -- to legal (UNINTEL).

CHRIS CUOMO: With time and the benefit of looking back on your time as president, do you regret having removed the supreme court judge and the other jurists?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: I would -- I would say that -- I put it like this, that it was a correct action. I do not regret that it was a wrong action. It was very constitutional, whatever I did, and very legal. But however, the fallout then was bad. (UNINTEL) fallout, which led to upheaval that we've seen, and therefore, one would like to rethink if, with hindsight now, whether it was wise to do even a legally and constitutionally correct act.

CHRIS CUOMO: Would you have done it again?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Well, that's a difficult question, yes. With hindsight, one would say -- were not to show pragmatism even on right things. But I am a strong believer of doing -- of doing the right, (UNINTEL) the constitution and the law to now, when you are asking me with hindsight, yes, one of -- it's more easier to say that maybe you're gonna -- one needs to show pragmatism. But if I'm confronted with another situation where I would, again, see the legality and constitutionality and right and wrong, and then -- take -- action in favor of right.

CHRIS CUOMO: In the decision to return to Pakistan, there is legal risk, political risk. But do you consider physical risk, given what's happened to leaders in the history of Pakistan, most recently Benazir Bhutto.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: That risk is there. And -- one has to accept that risk, and there's a saying, "No risk, no gain." One has to risk something to gain something.

CHRIS CUOMO: Mr. Sharif is seen as a political opponent, another potential leader in Pakistan. You criticize him. You believe that there is something that Americans should know about Nawaz Sharif.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes, they should know a lot about Nawaz Sharif. First of all, I think he's -- I call him a closet Taliban.

CHRIS CUOMO: Strong charge.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Well, he is that, because even on Pakistan television these days, talk shows are going on -- saying that he has met Osama bin Laden five times. Five times before 9/11. And he has been financed by Osama bin Laden. Then the other element is that he never speaks against terrorism and extremism. The man is a closet Taliban.

Then he's been tested and tried twice, and failed. And took Pakistan to a state where we were defaulted and appealed state. And moreover, his interaction with people, his -- his interaction, his dealings with officials -- with people who -- who are -- who matter in Pakistan, he has -- has been so abrasive, right from the beginning, he has never been on good terms with any army chief of Pakistan.

He has never been in good terms with any president of Pakistan. So I don't know what kind of a mental makeup he has. But the man is abrasive against the other power -- brokers of Pakistan, that is the president and the army chief. Always on a confrontationalist (?) course, right since the time of his joining politics, he has been on confront -- he has been on a confrontation course with his -- with his own mentor -- back in the '80s. So that is his mental makeup. Well, then -- it's for the people of Pakistan then to judge whether he's the right man to -- to run a country.

CHRIS CUOMO: Looking at Pakistan today, President Obama said a few months ago that he was worried about the stability of Pakistan. As you look at your country today, do you believe Pakistan is stable?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Pakistan can be very stable. Today, yes, there is -- a degree of instability in Pakistan today, because of terrorism and extremism, and because of that -- some elements -- in Baluchistan, also raising their heads of -- giving the cry of separatism. These elements are very small -- and they have been there all along in Pakistan history -- history.

But they should not be tolerated by the government. But -- having said that, I am a strong believer that Pakistan inherently is very stable, because the people of Pakistan, vast, vast majority of Pakistan, Pakistanis, want Pakistan to be a strong Pakistan. And the military of Pakistan is very strong. And as long as the people of Pakistan, vast majority, and the military of Pakistan is strong, Pakistan is stable and nothing can happen to Pakistan.

CHRIS CUOMO: If the Taliban came to power in Pakistan, how could you ensure the safety of the nuclear weapons?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: If they came to power, yes indeed. The -- the nuclear weapons will be theirs, and I mean, we shouldn't have any doubt, if they're running a government and their -- it is their government in Pakistan, the nuclear weapons, all the military. Everything is there. But the question is -- this is quite -- talk which will never come into real -- reality.

They will never win in the politics of Pakistan. Today, they only have about two to three percent seats, and I'm not talking of Taliban. I'm talking of the religious, political party. They are not Taliban. Now who are the Taliban? How can they come into power in Pakistan? I don't think that is at all possible.

CHRIS CUOMO: You don't think it's realistic.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: No, not at all. Even the religious parties who may be having some links or connections with them, or they may be having sympathy for them, even there, they're all two -- two to three percent of the (UNINTEL) today.

CHRIS CUOMO: All reports about what's going on in Afghanistan point back to Pakistan, that that's where the Taliban leadership is, that that's where money and supplies are coming from, that that's where intelligence help is coming from, through the ISI. If that is the case, what can we do to help in Afghanistan that does not involve the United States going into Pakistan?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Well, first of all, these perceptions are created, and they are all wrong. Money. How can money come from Pakistan? Where -- where is -- where is the money in Pakistan? The Pakistan's government's money, our exchequer (PH)? Where is the money? So it's such a wrong perception. Money is from drugs, mainly, which are in Afghanistan.

They generate about $15 billion, maybe $4 billion to $5 billion (UNINTEL) there in Afghanistan. So what -- what money are we talking of? Obviously the money flows from Afghanistan to Pakistan, in help of the Taliban in Pakistan and the Taliban (UNINTEL) weapons. Where are the weapons in Pakistan? Is the Pakistan army supplying the weapons?

CHRIS CUOMO: Are they?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Not at all. Pakistan army is very -- one bolt of a rifle lost in Pakistan. We have (UNINTEL) such strong systems of maintenance and -- holding of weapons -- a person can be court marshaled for that. So let me -- even -- it is far, far better than the weapon that the American troops hold, because there's a lot of (UNINTEL) maybe that goes on there.

Pakistan army's weapons can never be pilfered. That that is not -- let these perceptions not be there. The weapons, again, are coming from Afghanistan to Pakistan, so Pakistan, unfortunately, is blamed for exporting every -- it's an import. Weapons and money comes from Afghanistan to Pakistan. Let that be very clear.

CHRIS CUOMO: Then what about the allegation that the leadership of the Taliban are in Pakistan? Why would they be there if there were nothing there for them?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Right. Now who is the leadership of the Taliban? It's Mullah Omar, in -- in the Taliban of Afghanistan broadly have a unified command. In Pakistan, it is not the case. The leadership of Taliban in Afghanistan almost vast majority is Mullah Omar. And Mullah Omar very much is in Afghanistan, and I am absolutely 100 percent sure. This talk of some people who talk of Quetta shura and all that. Mullah Omar has never been into Pakistan. All these years, he was there maybe as a young -- young boy, where he studied in some (UNINTEL). He has never come to Pakistan. Where are the others, now? Who are the other Taliban? In Pakistan, everyone may call himself Taliban.

All these people in South Waziristan, North Waziristan, Swat, all these people of various parties, groups, call themselves Taliban. Even-- an extremist in the heart of Islamabad, in the red mosque calls himself -- (UNINTEL) to Taliban. So who are the Taliban? It's -- it's -- doesn't have one unified monolith command structure. So where are they now?

And they are the people who have sympathy with the Taliban. And they don't -- many of them, these people that I am talking of, they don't go to Afghanistan. It's the people -- the people the Taliban in groups who go across. And-- fight there. And it's across the -- in Afghanistan that they are -- have a unified command under Mullah Omar.

CHRIS CUOMO: So you reject the idea that Pakistan is providing supplies and help and housing the leadership of al Qaeda, of the Taliban, to then go into Afghanistan.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: No, no. I don't reject that. We must-- what I have said it. Yes, there are sanctuaries in Pakistan, where the people, the Taliban from Afghanistan can come and stay. They have sanct -- sanctuaries. And their support within the Pakistani Taliban. But it is not the perception that I'm -- misperception that I'm trying to clear.

It is not that the Pakistani side is going there. It is Afghan side, the Taliban of Afghanistan, coming and having sanctuaries here. It is not that weapons and money is going from Pakistan. It is Afghan money and weapons coming here. So let's get that -- whole -- thing clear. So it's -- it's -- it's -- when we talk of people, yes, people are moving across the border from Pakistan going across. And from Afghanistan, people coming into the sanctuaries in Pakistan. That is reality.

CHRIS CUOMO: Is it a safe haven? Are the Pakistanis giving open arms and saying, "Come, come here. We'll protect you."

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: No, you are talking about Pakistanis. What are we talking? We are talk of-- they generally come to South and North Waziristan. Point two percent of Pakistan. So how can you say Pakistan? Why are we saying Pakistan? Pakistan 98.8 percent is other Pakistan. In point two percent of Pakistan, South and North Waziristan, they have safe -- safe havens. And so, what is the issue? So it's not Pakistan. People -- some people in South, North Waziristan, Paktuns and Tali -- local Taliban. They give them safe haven.

CHRIS CUOMO: Is it fair to say that because so much of the population of that area's -- Pakistan is Pashtun, and so much of the Taliban that we're dealing with Afghanistan are Pashtun, that it's impossible for the Pakistanis to stop the cooperation between the two, because they're bound by tribe.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes. Yes. They are bound by tribes. They are bound by a geography. There have been -- the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan has been porous. There has been an agreement called easement rights. In these easement rights, families could move across the border. The tribes were divided, across the border, and there were marriages.

There were interaction across the border, through these easement rights. Since British days and after partition also, this continued. And that it why it is porous. But having said that, when we decided in two thou -- after 9/11, when we looked at the situation and we wanted to control the movement. One, we have to destroy al Qaeda, who are in our mountain. Yes, they have safe havens and they have to be destroyed.

But when we are talking of Taliban, we are talking of people from Afghanistan and people of Pakistan. So therefore, we have to go for a triple strategy of -- military, political and social economics. But I had given an idea. I said, "We must mind the whole border. We can mine the whole border." Now mining is very negative in Europe and United States.

But this is an unusual war. Nobody accepted my word. As far as I'm concerned, we should mine it so that people can't go across. And we should even fence it. We could fence it, like the Indians have done fencing. But fencing means manning the fence. Otherwise it's a useless thing -- obstacle. Mines don't have to be manned, so there are measures.

As far as Pakistan, there are (UNINTEL) concerns being posed, go (UNINTEL) in certain area. And I carried out mining of about 35 miles. Selectively, about five or six miles in certain areas where there are routes going in. I think that we could mine the whole area. Finances required, to man it and to mine the -- mine it -- or fence it. So we should go for those drastic measures also. United States should look into that.

CHRIS CUOMO: No matter what you do, though, if it's the case that members of your military and your intelligence share that ethnic identity of being Pashtun, doesn't that come first for them?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yeah. I -- yes, I -- the military (UNINTEL) is mainly (UNINTEL). And now, I -- that (UNINTEL) ethnic balancing I did, from symbols (?) where people have come. So it's not Pashtun. (UNINTEL) and Isai (PH) is not Pashtun. Yes, there are Paktuns and Isai in the army. The frontier corps of the second line force is all Pashtun. But they're under discipline of the Pakistan Army.

They -- they are officered by army officers, whereas the men come from the locals. Sure -- they had some (UNINTEL) for thei -- for Paktuns. But to say that they won't fight, they're fighting and they have suffered casualties. And -- I think that's not such a great issue. They will fight, and the army will also fight, because they understand that they have to remove -- element -- al Qaeda and also stop the Taliban from going across the border.

CHRIS CUOMO: But aren't they compromised, if they are sharing tribal identity with the enemy? How can they ever consider them enemy if they're both Pashtun?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: No, no, they are. Within the Pashtun now, there are tribes. And let me say that if you belong-- yes, if are from one tribe operating a certain area, maybe they'll be an inhibition on that tribal soldier or that tribal frontier corps man to shoot at his own tribe people. But tribes and subtribes have been fighting each other. So if you are in (UNINTEL) for example, and you've taken people from Hotak tribe and they are there. There's -- there's not a problem. So we -- we are to know even these tribal -- differences.

CHRIS CUOMO: Now -- now I want to make sure I understand this correctly. On some level, you -- tell me if this is fair. Do you believe, on some level, that America has created its own enemy by abandoning the Mujahidin who now are Taliban. Do you believe that on some level, America allowed the Taliban to exist?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Not the Taliban, but the al Qaeda, yes. I always say that the first blunder that we committed, after '89, was the blunder of abandoning the place, abandoning Pakistan, leaving us high and dry. And not thinking of resetting or rehabilitating the -- the -- the Mujahidin that we brought, from all of the Muslim world, from east to west. About 25,000 to 30,000 of them. These people, by the way, are the ones who became-- coalesced and became al Qaeda. Today many of them, are by the way, married and they have children there. The same people, the Mujahidin have -- have children there. So therefore, their linkages with the tribes, with where they stay and they're being harbored by the people also have -- this reality should be kept in mind also, that they are there.

They will not taken away. They will not rehabilitated or re -- resettled. So this is how al Qaeda was created. As far as Taliban are concerned, they are a creation of circumstances in Afghanistan. I would, for that also, I would like to (UNINTEL) United States, because they abandoned the region.

Whereas there should be -- should have been some kind of a min i-- mini-marshal plan for Afghanistan, after what they suffered for 10 years of war, rehabilitation, resettlement, some reconstruction activity. They just backed up and went -- went away. And there was mayhem in Afghanistan, killing each other, all tribes.

CHRIS CUOMO: So isn't the lesson then that it's not about the troops. It's about the infrastructure that you put in place. It's about the development that you do within the borders of Afghan -- Afghanistan, not how many boots you have on the ground. Why is the discussion about how many troops we need?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Now we have to fight -- we have to speak from a position of (UNINTEL). If you remove the troops, there'll be more development. You better quit the whole area. And there is no development, nothing.

CHRIS CUOMO: So you believe we must have more troops in Afghanistan?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes, absolutely. I absolutely believe, because I have been saying everywhere that we are diluted (?) in space. A military man understands that. The space is too large. And your troop level is low.

CHRIS CUOMO: But nobody has won, in Afghanistan, just by having boots on the ground, not the British, not the Soviets, not you. Nobody has won that.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: This is only the first time, and we are -- we are better equipped. The (UNINTEL) of weapons is not all. We are not have -- we don't have cavalry on horseback and infantry working on foot. We have helicopters. We have gunships (?). We have predators and we have all kinds of techno -- technologically -- technically advanced weapons. And therefore, we can win. Actually -- we have to look at the external interference in Afghanistan. Where is the equipment coming from? Where is the weapons coming from? To the Taliban and to the al Qaeda.

(OVERTALK)

CHRIS CUOMO: People --

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Where is the money coming from?

CHRIS CUOMO: Your coun -- your country. People say they're coming from Pakistan. That's where it's coming from.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: I treat that as -- as -- as really -- as a joke. Where is the weapon in Pakistan? Who has the weapons? Where's the weapons coming from?

CHRIS CUOMO: The reports are that the ISI, that the organization of Pakistan's government along the border allow help and assistance to flow over.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Not at all. That is not at all correct.

CHRIS CUOMO: General -- (UNINTEL), who you agree with about Afghanistan strategy, he points the finger at Pakistan and says, "They're getting help from over there."

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Getting weapons from Pakistan -- has he said that?

CHRIS CUOMO: He said assistance, help.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes, help is there. Help in what form? Or if there's a trickle -- I wouldn't be able to say that there's not one rifle that was taken from Pakistan to the other side. Yes, indeed, they may have taken some rifles around, but the weapons generally are flowing from somewhere else, and not from Pakistan.

CHRIS CUOMO: Where do you think they're coming from --

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: And also, we should know that your intelligence, your CIA has (UNINTEL) everywhere, and there is total cooperation between ISI and CIA. So how is it that CIA doesn't-- know all this and cannot plug (?) all this? That -- that's not the case. The weapons come from outside, from external sources into Afghanistan.

CHRIS CUOMO: When you say win to win, what would be winning there?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Winning would be once you try to win against al Qaeda and eliminate all foreigners in the area. That is --

CHRIS CUOMO: All foreigners?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: All foreigners. Al Qaeda is all foreigners.

CHRIS CUOMO: But you have said that everyone there carries a weapon, that they live in the mountains, and that you would basically then have to kill everybody, you're saying. (LAUGHTER)

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: No, certainly not. Certainly not. That is the population of Pakistan, and there are people, and we cannot do that. That is the last thing that I will ever say. We have to (UNINTEL) the friendship between al Qaeda. Al Qaeda were -- normally Arabs. Initially, they were Arabs, but then they were joined mainly by Czechians and Uzbeks.

Now with all the operations, I think we are back to mainly they are Arabs. We have to -- they are foreigners, and we have to -- when we have to eliminate them. As I said, there are elements who are married and settled there, so -- so that is the complexity of the situation. But however, we have to eliminate the al Qaeda and that is doable.

CHRIS CUOMO: But what about the Taliban.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: No, Taliban is the other question. Taliban is a more serious question. Taliban are our own population. Taliban are the population of Afghanistan. Now, but all -- all of Paktuns are not Talibans, and that is what we need to differentiate, although with the wrong policies, by not after 9/11, not moving toward the Paktuns, we did alienate the Paktuns and push them towards the Taliban. It is never too late. We need to get back the Paktuns away from Talibans, through a political arrangement, through dealing with them. That's all we need to do, on the Pakistan side.

CHRIS CUOMO: So winning isn't just about the military. Winning is about political remedies --

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes.

CHRIS CUOMO: -- economic remedies.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes. Yes, absolute -- socio, economic and political.

CHRIS CUOMO: Now just given the history, and you know the history very well, certainly better than I do. The force of troops in Afghanistan has never changed the culture of that country. Why aren't you, as a leader in the region, pushing for the political and the economic first? And not just escalating troops, not just fighting against people who've never been beaten?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Oh, I am seeing simultaneous. I've been saying this since after 9/11. The three part of pol -- military, political, social, economic, and I have been political. This is my term. All Pak -- all Taliban are Paktun, but all Paktuns are not Taliban. I said this maybe back in 2001, or 2002.

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.

(OVERTALK)

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.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes. Yes. Yeah, that's right. I mean, if you -- if you're giving a strategy with all American troops or coalition troops leave Afghanistan, and they help Pakistan in maintaining closing the border, sealing the border, help us seal the border, and then deal with the extremism in our-- on our side. And allow whatever happened in Afghanistan. Well, that is a different strategy. One could think of that. I never thought of that.

CHRIS CUOMO: Must not be a good idea then, because what do I know? The last time we spoke, we were talking about Osama bin Laden. He's always a hot topic whenever terrorism comes up. How close were you-- or let me ask it this way. Is it true that you were once close to capturing Osama bin Laden and the U.S. frustrated your efforts?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: No, not at all. That never happened. There was a time, some three or four years back, where there was some intelligence reports of a certain area we are probably-- probably there. And therefore, there was an intelligence effort which started focusing onto that area, to close the neck there. But then suddenly, that-- that link or that closing up-- that intelligence-- field. And we couldn't close up. And we lose all-- all hints.

CHRIS CUOMO: It wasn't about the U.S.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: ( UNINTEL)

CHRIS CUOMO: The United States didn't make any mistake in the situation.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: No, I don't think so. No. I don't know such a thing.

CHRIS CUOMO: And I also asked you the last time we were together. If the Pakistanis were to capture Osama bin Laden, would they deliver him to the United States?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: This is-- the policy that I followed, against al Qaeda, all foreigners, right from 9/11, we made a policy. Firstly, no Pakistani to be handed over to United States. Number two, any foreigner, first offer him to his country. If that country does not accept, hand him over to anyone. Don't keep him in Pakistan. Don't try him in Pakistan. I saw that out of the foreigners, the al Qaeda, not once did the country of his origin accepted. So therefore, we are not interested (UNINTEL), so that policy ought to be followed.

CHRIS CUOMO: Even with Osama bin Laden?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Anything.

(OVERTALK)

CHRIS CUOMO: But wouldn't it be--

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: But I think it's better not to capture him.

CHRIS CUOMO: It's-- you think it's better not to capture him.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Shouldn't be-- don't increase problems.

CHRIS CUOMO: So you're saying just leave him alone? Or you're saying if you find him, you should kill him?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Well, one-- well, I wouldn't like to comment on that-- but-- capturing and taking him somewhere has its own-- problems.

CHRIS CUOMO: The reluctance to deal with this question, to the American perspective, speaks to the cultural problems for Pakistan of fighting against the Taliban, that there's too many connections between the two cultures for Pakistan to really take them on. It's too close to home. Too many of your people may be sympathetic to the Taliban. Is that fair criticism?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Well, there was-- there was certainly a time-- in the recent years that Taliban had sympathy in many parts, public of Pakistan. Especially because of the donut (PH) acts, they gain sympathy. But then lately, after the Swat operation-- when they were the-- after they're being cleared in-- February '98, as I said, when we held elections, and a moderate party won the election.

And after that, with the resurgence of the Taliban, because of certain wrong decisions at the political level in the province, the Taliban came back with a vengeance in Swat. And they carried out very, very-- they carried out represents against all those people who supported the army. And they did it in a very, very crude fashion of slaughtering people, burning schools, (UNINTEL) schools, burning our ski resort, et cetera. That now the public of Pakistan are-- for with the army to win against the Taliban. So that is the good thing that has happened, I think.

CHRIS CUOMO: If the U.S. mission in Afghanistan fails, if they don't take control of the situation, what happens to Pakistan?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Pakistan certainly will have to fight against the Taliban-- because they would like to spread again. And they're starting in-- if they are to follow the same pattern-- into the (UNINTEL) agency and north and going towards-- because those mountains have more sympathy with the Taliban, the area of Swat, because there is this (UNINTEL) and his clan.

And they had to have a tend-- they tend to go across the mountains. There's one Shanglar (PH), a range, and go onto the Karacodomi (PH) way, which is our link with our northern areas and with China. So that is-- the danger, and obviously, the army will have to protect the-- and show the security of the Karacomdomi way. And then act against anyone who tries to expand that way.

CHRIS CUOMO: You say the United States should not consider any military operations inside Pakistan. But when reports come out, Nabibula Zazi (PH), who was just taken, he says, "I was trained in Pakistan."... When Mashud (PH) is bombed in Pakistan by the U.S., when these reports come out, why doesn't it lead to the conclusion that the U.S. has to have a military presence in Pakistan to fight the leadership of the insurgency?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: We are talking of an enemy, and we want who should deal with the enemy. I have said that Pakistan forces, Pakistan intelligence will deal with the enemy in Pakistan, just like would you like some other country dealing with your terrorists here in the United States? Why do you think the country's sovereignty is different from your own country's sovereignty?

We have our sovereignty. And that people believing in the sovereignty of Pakistan. So why should United States come into Pakistan when we have our own force, and which-- which can deliver? (UNINTEL)... Massoud was enemy number one for Pakistan. He was carrying out of su-- all suicide attacks in Pakistan.

He's the man responsible for the killings of-- Benazir Bhutto. Since long, I have been saying, we ought to be watching him with the predators, and I-- may I say that we were denied that. We've-- that was denied, and that is why he kept growing and was later that he was spotted then with probably, obviously the drone (?) then he was killed, which is good action. Now other than that, I've been saying, why don't you give drones to Pakistan? What is the problem with giving drones to Pakistan? And Pakistan-- military or Air Force handing the drones and attacking targets? Why are you not sensitive to our concerns, to our sovereignty and our concerns?

CHRIS CUOMO: The same question can be posed the other way, Mr. Musharraf, that when reports come out that Taliban is growing in Pakistan, and that more and more people are being seen there, like the names I've given you, it does raise the suspicion as to whether or not Pakistan can take care of its own situation.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: I've said that Pakistan troops have-- they have delivered in Bajaur and Momond agency and in Swat. They can deliver in South and North Waziristan. The other point I want to make, what makes you think that U.S. forces will deliver there? You yourself think that they are not delivering in Afghanistan and they ought to be quitting.

Everyone is talking about running away from Afghanistan, abandoning Afghanistan. What makes you think you will come and succeed in Afghanistan? There is a more hostile environment. The terrain is more hostile. So makes you think that the same U.S. forces who are failing in Afghanistan will succeed in Pakistan and Afghanistan both?

What makes you think that by spreading out U.S. forces and diluting them in space more, because already their space problem is there in Afghanistan, you add the space of Pakistan, of frontier province and travel agency, you think that the U.S. forces will now succeed. I think it will be a blunder. It will be a military blunder, and you won't succeed. And you will also cause an upheaval in the Pakistani mind that you are violating the sovereignty of Pakistan.

CHRIS CUOMO: How many troops do you think it would take for the U.S. to send to Afghanistan?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: I wouldn't be able to say that. I haven't analyzed that as-- from the military point of view. But certainly, there are ratios-- that have to be maintained in-- with respect to terrain and since it's a mountainous terrain, you need more troops. We need to raise Afghan national army, more Afghan national army, because it is the Sufran (PH) national army which can operate in the countryside.

While (UNINTEL) points are held as-- as concentrations by the coalition forces and US forces. That ought to be a strategy. I am sure that maybe a strategy. I don't even know what-- the US forces and coalition forces are doing. But the ratio has to be much more. I can't give you a figure.

CHRIS CUOMO: Do you think the U.S. has made any mistakes in Afghanistan so far?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Well, I have only been reading in news or newspapers of some civilians being killed through collateral damage. Those are the things which cause negative-- (UNINTEL). But other than that, I don't-- I don't really know what mistakes they may have committed-- on the military. The-- the mistake that I have already highlighted, that after 9/11, they did not pursue or get closer to the Paktuns. That was a blunder on the highest order.

CHRIS CUOMO: A political blunder.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes.

CHRIS CUOMO: Because that wasn't about troops on the ground.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes. No.

CHRIS CUOMO: I mean, I think that's the primary American concern is that the solution always seems to be send more people in to go fight, when the history of Afghanistan makes it very clear that the shortcoming there has been social, economic and political, that nobody has gone in there and just conquered them with military might. Is that fair to say?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes. Yes, in the past, yes. But-- again, maybe they didn't take that kind of crux (?), to be able to-- win.

CHRIS CUOMO: The Soviets gave a pretty earnest effort there. A heavy troop involvement.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes. But then, on the other side, there were assistance from the whole world. They were the U.S. assistance. There was coalition. There was Pakistan assistance. There was a sanctuary available beside. There was a total supply of high quality weapons, equipment, manpower coming from the world, going in against the Soviets. It was a different situation.

CHRIS CUOMO: When do you think that the decision has to be made about what to do in Afghanistan? Can we wait?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: From-- troop-- additional troops point of view? I think you should take it immediately. You should have taken it yesterday.

CHRIS CUOMO: Yesterday.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yeah, we-- we must-- the the commander on ground wants more troops. And I believe, from military point of view, that is absolutely correct, so we have to decide whether we want to follow a strategy which is being recommended from the military point of view, or we have some other strategy. There is-- some other strategy, by all means, then don't send troops. But we're not to be (?) clear, then what is the strategy?

CHRIS CUOMO: Will you-- will Pakistan send more troops?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: To-- to Afghanistan? No, no, I don't think so.

CHRIS CUOMO: Why not?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: No, that-- that is not possible. We-- we have our hands full and we have-- we have to deal with this, and there is-- their situation on our eastern border, a threat which emanates from the presence of a very, very large force. Therefore, we have to be careful all around, from our external threat and an internal threat that we are dealing.

CHRIS CUOMO: Well, doesn't the U.S. have a lot on its plate also and--

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yeah.

CHRIS CUOMO: --it's been engaged now in a war for eight plus years.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes. Yes-- it started-- it was you who invaded and came into Afghanistan, so you better face it now and win there.

CHRIS CUOMO: But you said that we had to go in there.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: You had to go in. Now you are going back to 9/11. I didn't say you had to go in there at that time, you know?

CHRIS CUOMO: So you think--

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Because--

CHRIS CUOMO: --that the decision to go into Afghanistan in 9/11 was right or wrong?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Well, yes indeed, there was al Qaeda, and they carried out-- the terrorist attack-- of 9/11. And therefore, they had to be punished. I mean, any leader of any country would-- react in a similar manner, after such a massive-- terrorist-- catastrophe. Having said that, as I said, we should have-- caught the al Qaeda, and we should have not alienated the entire population. It comes to the political side again. While the military operation certainly, I think-- because of the terrorist attack, was-- became a compulsion-- to punish the perpetuators of that attack, which can be called genuine, yes.

CHRIS CUOMO: What are you more worried about for Pakistan, the threat of the Taliban or India?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Both. Depends on which one is more-- more life, more life. If India's threatening to attack and punish Pakistan and carried-- carrying out-- hot pursuits and surgical strikes, certainly, India is the threat. And we will-- we will not allow it. And all the force will be used to stop them.

CHRIS CUOMO: But it seems that most of the attacks that are in the media are Taliban-generated, not coming from India--

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: At this moment. At this moment, yes, because India is quiet. But after the Bombay attack, there was a demand by the politician and the media to punish Pakistan. Certainly at that time, nobody punishes Pakistan. Our forces are meant to stop that, and they will stop it.

CHRIS CUOMO: You don't think there's a risk to the United States that if they get even more involved in Afghanistan, that there'll be more anger towards them, towards the United States in the region?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: More involvement in Afghanistan?

CHRIS CUOMO: If we get more involved there and take on another war, after the Iraq War, that it sends a message to that part of the world that once again, the United States is trying to prove that might makes right?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: You're already there. There's no other-- it's not-- you're not starting that you can think of not going there. You're already there, whatever anyone is thinking, by putting 30,000, 40,000 more troops. Nobody's bothered. It's more in your media, if more troops, then nobody in Pakistan is talking of, other than, "Why are there more troops coming to Afghanistan?" Nobody ever thinks about.

CHRIS CUOMO: Nobody ever thinks about it, why?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Because they are not-- they think of whatever is happening in Afghanistan, let it continue. Pakistan is (UNINTEL), when there are drone attacks in Pakistan, when our sovereignty is violated, yes, then they talk about it. But otherwise, they are not even reading or they are not even interested what level of troops are maintained in Afghanistan.

CHRIS CUOMO: To correct the record about something you were talking about in the-- the briefing, the-- the idea of the money that's been given by the United States to Pakistan to help in this effort, you were quoted in the Pakistani press, saying that some of the money that we'd given you to fight the Taliban had been diverted to India. Was that your quote?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: No. How did money get diverted from Afghanistan to India? I don't understand this logic. How does money get diverted there?

CHRIS CUOMO: I don't know. I ask you because they say it's your words.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: No, I don't-- I said that. (UNINTEL) we are talking (UNINTEL) I have explained many times this money-- where-- what is this money meant for? And the money was-- half of it was reimbursement of Pakistan services-- services provided by Pakistan. So why do you keep calling your own your money? It is our money.

We provided you services. You are reimbursing our services. So half of it has gone. The other half now, the money is for military aid and socioeconomic aid. Now the military aid comes for weapons, for replenishment of weapons because of wear and tear, for the ammunition that is being consumed by the Air Force, by the army, and is consumed there.

Now I don't have the details. But now if we buy weapons and ammunition, this is given to the troops, to the regiments. And the lowest un-- element is the unit or the regiment, which actually holds equipment and holds the ammunition. When they-- this is given to a regiment, this regiment in Pakistan army, not organization is not static. It moves. It moves every three to four years. And from tribal agencies, they are operating in the tribal agencies or Swat. Every year, the unit changes. It will go elsewhere. And in going elsewhere, it can be anywhere on the border. In Kashmir, in south (UNINTEL) the desert, in the central Punjab against India on the eastern border or in Baluchistan. It can go anywhere.

It carries that weapon and ammunition with them. They don't leave them in the mountains. They will carry it, because who else will take it over? Every regiment has its own equipment. So the new regiment comes. It brings its own equipment with it. Now whether it is given by the Chinese or Americans or Russians we don't-- we don't know where it is. It-- the regiment-- it is the regiment's equipment and the regiment's ammunition.

Wherever it goes, it carries it around with it. So I don't understand what is the-- I mean, is the other Americans expecting that when the regiment goes from the mountains to-- from there, would leave the equipment in the mountains and go somewhere else, in India and looks for Indian. What equipment can be used for India, and it takes all that equipment and goes there?

What I just don't understand is kind of-- logic that goes on. And on the-- when you are talking all the social chapter (?), education and health, yes, it's very good. Thank you very much for giving that. But we would need maybe about 10 times more than what you have given. And that 10 times more is coming from Pakistan's own exchequer. I told you, what you have given something for education.

How much have you given? And I have told you that in-- for higher education in 2000-- in '99, there was an allocation of only 600 million rupees. And the allocation now by us was 28 billion rupees. Had this come from United States? No, sir, it's our own money. So you have added a trickle into that major chunk that we have increased for education. So I don't know.

You-- please don't think that it is only that two and a half billion rupees for-- dollars for-- for the socioeconomic sector for Pakistan. That is only money that Pakistan has. We have about 20 times more that money, which is allocated for that sector.

CHRIS CUOMO: Understood. When you look at Pakistan now, the new leadership, what direction the country is moving in, are you concerned about the safety of Pakistan?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes, indeed. I am. Very much so.

CHRIS CUOMO: Since you've left power, do you believe it has become less stable?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes, absolutely.

CHRIS CUOMO: Is there more of a threat to extremists getting a foothold on control in Pakistan now?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Well, extremists-- are more threatening all right. And the Taliban and the Taliban addition (?) that was happening in Swat. But now they have been pushed back and I think-- while-- if I was to compare, in my time, certainly it is much more than that. But I think we are-- succeeding.

CHRIS CUOMO: Is Pakistan as good a friend to the United States now as it was when you were there?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: I would like to ask if United States a good friend now of Pakistan. As we were, from '47 to '89, for 42 years, Pakistan was a very good friend, has always been very loyal, even to-- even when the people were thinking that we are some kind of-- puppets of the Americans. Even then, Pakistan was always in the western camp.

And it is now I would like to ask, and because the people of Pakistan ask, is United States going to again, abandon or ditch us, having used us again as they did between '79 and '89, in 1989? So instead of asking whether Pakistan would be more friendly, I would like to, on behalf of the people of Pakistan, ask United States. How serious are they, in aid of Pakistan, in the support of Pakistan, for the welfare of the people of Pakistan?

CHRIS CUOMO: Do you feel that the United States has not been supportive enough?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes, certainly, I think so. As I told you, in the history of Pakistan-- there have been-- sanctions against Pakistan. When we needed equipment, there have been sanctions. When we were threatened, they were-- they were sanctioned and there were impediments in that. We were abandoned in 1989, as I told you, for 12 years.

All the upheaval in Pakistan is because of that. We were all alone, and the Mujahidin were al Qaeda and the Taliban and Kashmir-- everything was happening. Its impact on the social fabric of Pakistan. The United States was not assisting us at all. We were all alone. That is why the people of Pakistan ask these questions. So-- I think-- we need to be clear on-- that the United States, is it going to show concern or sensitivity to Pakistan's concerns and Pakistan's national interests? And that is what the United States ought to be doing, to get closer to the people of Pakistan, as they were, beyond '47 up to '89.

CHRIS CUOMO: Does that mean invest more capital there?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Not necessarily. I've always, in fact, been saying-- we ought to increase trade and not aid. I've been saying that. Economy of Pakistan doesn't need injection of money. Injection of money-- it is the-- it's the (UNINTEL) trade, because trade means expansion of industry, new factories, new jobs, and therefore poverty alleviation, reduction in un-- unemployment.

That is the bigger gift. I have been always insisting on United States give us more-- give us an FTS, featured agreement. Give us additional quota for our textiles and to-- United States. That will expand our industrial base and give us jobs and poverty alleviation. Don't give us money.

CHRIS CUOMO: Do you think President Obama has been an improvement?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: President Obama has intentions of improvement.

CHRIS CUOMO: Intentions of improvement. What does that mean?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: He's saying the right things. So, I-- he's saying the right things. He's-- he wants to focus more on Afghanistan-- compared to Iraq, which is the right strategy at this moment. He wants to reach out to the Muslims, which is again, the right strategy. So he has to deliver, on both these accounts.

CHRIS CUOMO: So he's saying the right things, but you're not sure if he's doing the right things.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: No, no, he must be trying to do the right things. But we need to see them on ground, yes.

CHRIS CUOMO: Why do you think you haven't seen them yet?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: No, I think the troops-- we are-- we are seeing the troops increase in Afghanistan, yes.

CHRIS CUOMO: Now what if he doesn't increase the troops? What if he decides we're going to pursue a different strategy here? We can't have more boots on the ground.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: I need to see that strategy, because there is a talk here that maybe we reduce troops and concentrate in the main cities, all the main cities of Afghanistan. I don't think a military man should ever say that. You hold cities. Who's going to hold the countryside in between? And you're going to isolate the garrisons there, so that they ultimately are-- run there, from there, because they'll be surrounded? What are we talking? There has to be a place. There-- there are linkages. The supply line's already clear. And we have links with outside world, everywhere-- I think. I don't know. I need to understand. What is the strategy?

CHRIS CUOMO: So you're saying--

(OVERTALK)

CHRIS CUOMO: You have to be all in or not at all.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: No, I wouldn't say that. I-- I mean, you're asking me questions that I haven't analyzed the strategy of. You make me the commander of Afghanistan. I'll give you a good strategy.

CHRIS CUOMO: Is that what you would want? (LAUGHTER)

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Well, I have been a fighter always. I don't mind. I don't mind challenges.

CHRIS CUOMO: You know, we were talking about earlier about Nawaz Sharif and your-- depiction of him as a closet Taliban. What is the proof of that? You say he met with Osama bin Laden. Is there a way to show that? Is there proof of these meetings?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: No, I can't-- do that, but there are certainly. There are people who-- who vouch for it, who were present there, who was-- they were on the television. I saw it on the television, on Pakistani television. There was a man who said, "I introduced him. I took him. And he was from ISI. He was a brigadier (?)."

Then-- while the-- the-- Nawaz Sharif supported (UNINTEL), they got an interpreter, who interpreted with the-- you know, (LAUGHTER) Osama bin Laden and Nawaz Sharif. He said yes. I was there, sitting there and interpreting, so I think you can ask him (?).

CHRIS CUOMO: And it was a member of the ISI who had set up the meeting be-- between Osama bin Laden--

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes.

CHRIS CUOMO: And Nawaz Sharif.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Yes.

CHRIS CUOMO: Is that a concern to you, that a member of the ISI was setting up a meeting with Osama bin Laden?

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.

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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