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ISI cultivated Taliban to counter Indian action: Musharraf

Pervez Musharraf

Karachi: Pervez Musharraf has said that under his regime, Pakistan had tried to undermine the Afghan government led by ex-president Hamid Karzai for helping “India stab Pakistan in the back”.

“In President Karzai’s times, yes, indeed, he was damaging Pakistan and, therefore, we were working against his interest. Obviously, we had to protect our own interest,” the former military ruler said in an interview published today.

Spies in Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) had given birth to the Taliban after 2001 because the Karzai- government had an overwhelming number of non-Pashtuns and officials who were said to favour India, Musharraf said.

“Obviously, we were looking for some groups to counter this Indian action against Pakistan.

“That is where the intelligence work comes in. Intelligence being in contact with Taliban groups. Definitely they were in contact, and they should be,” the 71-year-old former dictator told The Guardian in his luxurious home here.

Musharraf – who suffered a setback in his political career as he has been ensnared by a series of legal cases, including one murder and one treason charge – admitted that when he was in power, Pakistan sought to undermine Karzai’s government because the former Afghan premier had “helped India stab Pakistan in the back”.

Karzai infuriated both Musharraf and his successor Ashfaq Kayani by spurning offers to help train Afghanistan’s embryonic army. Instead, Karzai sent cadets to India, where Musharraf believes they were “indoctrinated” against Pakistan.

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