ISI, CIA together created Taliban: Zardari (Lead)

May 11th, 2009 - 8:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 11 (IANS) Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has said Pakistani and US intelligence agencies - the ISI and the CIA - together created the Taliban, but denied Islamabad would like to retain it as a bulwark against Indian influence in Afghanistan.

“I don’t think so. I don’t think so,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” programme Sunday when asked if there was a view in Pakistan that the Taliban should be kept around for a rainy day as a bulwark against Indian influence.

“I think it was part of your past and our past, and the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) and the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) created them together,” said Zardari when asked if the creation of Taliban was not part of Pakistan’s past.

“And I can find you 10 books and 10 philosophers and 10 write-ups on that, of what all you didn’t do,” he said referring to the creation of Taliban to fight the then Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

Asked if the game changed after 9/11 to a point where the US decided to root out the Taliban threat and Pakistan was straddling both sides, Zardari countered: “You tell me. I was imprisoned by the same dictator you were supporting.”

“Yes. I’m speaking of (former president) General (Pervez) Musharraf. In fact, I lost my wife on his watch and I have — I spent five years in his prison.”

Zardari wouldn’t agree with suggestions about a widespread belief that Pakistan’s military and intelligence services still have same sympathies for the Taliban.

“I think General Musharraf may have had a mind-set that I — to run with the hare and hunt with the hound. But certainly not on our watch. We don’t have that thought process at all.”

Asked who was in control of Pakistan, he or the military, Zardari said: “I think the military is in control of their hemisphere and I’m in control of the whole country.”

When asked if the military could overrule him, he asserted, “No. I can overrule them.”

Denying that he had been overruled in the past, Zardari said: “No. We’ve gone to their position and they’ve come to our positions.”

Asked why was it that when he wanted the ISI chief to go to Mumbai after the Nov 26 attacks, he was overruled by the military, Zardari said: “No, it was not overruled by the military. They thought it was too, too soon. And eventually we’ve offered for the intelligence chief to meet.”

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