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Pakistan's Musharraf defends supporting US's Afghan war

Whole world supported US invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11, Pakistan alone could not oppose that, says former leader

11.09.2016
Pakistan's Musharraf defends supporting US's Afghan war

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan's former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf on Sunday gave a passionate defense of his decision to join the U.S.-led war on terror, saying his country was left with no other option.

"The whole world had supported the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Pakistan alone could not oppose that," Musharraf, who had toppled the previous government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999 , said in an interview with local Dunya TV on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, which killed around 3,000 people.

The attacks led to the war in Afghanistan to oust the Taliban government, which was protecting since-slain al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

"We had taken the right decision, keeping the post-9/11 circumstances in view", Musharraf said rebutting an oft-cited notion that he had surrendered to a U.S. threat of sending Pakistan to the stone age.

"This is absolutely wrong to say that I had surrendered to a telephone call made by Colin Powell [U.S. secretary of state at the time]. We simply joined the war against terrorism as it was in our own interest," said Musharraf who was forced to resign in 2008 amid an impeachment threat by parliament.

He also claimed that rival India was ready to provide bases to U.S. forces for the Afghan war.

" The U.S. would have invaded Afghanistan from India even if Pakistan had refused to do that [provide bases to the U.S.]. But [then] we would have been completely isolated," he added.

The 72-year-old former army chief is currently living in London, and has recently been declared an absconder in a string of cases against him, including a treason case.

Musharraf, who also faces trial for his alleged involvement in the assassination of two-time Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, rejected a general impression in regard to U.S. interference in Pakistan's affairs.

"This is a completely wrong perception that America interferes in our internal affairs. I know this more than many others because i have a first-hand experience off handling them," he said.

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