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Musharraf supports negotiations with Taliban

pervez musharrafWASHINGTON: Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf Sunday rejected the idea that his country’s intelligence was supporting the Taliban, but stressed the need for a negotiated end to conflict in the region.

“I always was of the view that we need to change strategy,” he told the ABC program, “This Week.” “We need to go in for deals. So my strategy always was to strike a deal.”

He said his position had been “vindicated now when everyone is talking of going into some political agreements with moderate Taliban.”The former general bristled, however, at the suggestion that Pakistan is not doing enough to fight extremists.

“Pakistan has always been accused of not doing enough. But I totally disagree with this statement, Pakistan is doing enough,” he said.

He acknowledged that Pakistani forces were struggling in restive North Waziristan, but chided: “Don’t generalize the statement that Pakistan army is not doing enough.

“They have suffered over 2,000 casualties. What do we mean by ‘not doing enough’?,” he asked.

On Sunday, Afghanistan’s former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, was elected chairman of a new peace council set up to broker an end to the war with the Taliban.

The High Peace Council, espoused by President Hamid Karzai, intends to open a dialogue with insurgents who have been trying to bring down his government since the US-led invasion overthrew their regime in late 2001.

Musharraf currently in self-imposed exile London, vowed to return to Pakistan before elections set for 2013.

Despite facing arrest if he lands in Pakistan, he has been trying to build a Facebook following and cultivating media attention in hopes of staging a comeback.

“I have to create an environment of popularity, of political clout, and then I will go. I will be there before the elections,” he said. -AFP

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