Fiery Musharraf Slams U.S. Assessment of Pakistan

Former coup leader and president wants to get back in Pakistani politics.

ByABC News
October 9, 2010, 6:33 PM

Oct. 9, 2010— -- Pervez Musharraf, the former Pakistani president and general who came to power in coup in 1999 and resigned in 2008, slammed harsh U.S. assessments of Pakistan's fight against militants in an exclusive interview with "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour.

"[F]rankly, I have been -- Pakistan has always been accused of not doing enough," he said, but he insisted that "Pakistan is doing enough."

Musharraf strongly rejected a recent White House report, which said "the Pakistani military continued to avoid military engagements that would put it in direct conflict with Afghan Taliban or al-Qa'ida forces in North Waziristan. This is as much a political choice as it is a reflection of an under-resourced military prioritizing its targets."

"I totally disagree with this statement," Musharraf, speaking from London, told Amanpour.

Amanpour asked the former president about criticism by the Obama administration that the ISI, the Pakistani spy agency, still supports the Taliban.

"I take very strong exception to these statements which have been going on maybe since 2004, because of a misunderstanding of ground realities," he said.

"After defeating the Taliban ... I always was of the view that we need to change strategy. We need to go in for deals," he said. "So my strategy always was to strike a deal, strike a deal to win away Pashtun from the Taliban."

Musharraf said his views were vindicated by the fact that there is now widespread discussion of Afghan authorities coming to some kind of accommodation with elements of the Taliban.

He admitted that there was still extremism in Pakistan, but pressed for seeing terrorism as a reaction.

"There are problems that Pakistan is facing. There is no doubt, and nobody should deny that, that we have extremism in our society. We have al Qaeda and Taliban," he said. "But what we need -- we are not understanding -- are what are the causes behind terrorism is always a symptom. We should know that."