Time to talk to Taliban: MusharrafJuly 22, 2009
LONDON: Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf said dialogue had to be established with the Taliban and political progress, rather than military might, would achieve a solution in Afghanistan.
“I think the strategy is right but we need to put in a little more input, more forces required, and maybe we need to concentrate also on the long-term strategy. We are following a short-term military strategy only,” the former general told Britain’s Sky News television.
“The Taliban have done wicked things. But then we have to come to a solution.
“Military is never the ultimate solution. The military can buy you time, it can create an environment, but ultimately it is the political instrument which has to be used.
“I personally think that you need to establish a political dialogue and political dialogue with senior elements within the Taliban.
“Unfortunately, the Taliban or the senior elements in the Taliban, I don’t think are open at the moment to any discussions or any negotiations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
“We need to have people, whether through a jirga or whether it is the president himself, to have access into the Taliban.”
Musharraf said the Taliban’s influence in Pakistan’s Afghan border areas had strengthened since he resigned the presidency in August last year.
“There is a degree of instability that has come up because of this resurgence of Talibanisation activity in the settled districts of the frontier, especially Swat, but I am very sure as long as the armed forces of Pakistan stay and they are strong, Pakistan will remain stable,” he said.
Source: Times of India (19th July 2009)