Islamabad: Pakistan has ruled out any joint military operation with its close ally US to flush out Taliban and Al Qaeda insurgents taking shelter on its territory along the Afghan border.
“The whole population of Pakistan will rise against it,” President Pervez Musharraf told the American news channel CBS, while rejecting “absolutely and totally” the prospect of a joint operation with the US to pursue insurgents inside Pakistan.
He said Pakistan was pursuing a correct strategy to fight terrorism. “Even if we are succeeding 20%, 30%, 40%, the direction/end goal/strategy is correct,”
Responding to a question about Al Qaeda leaders remaining “free to operate” even after six years of counter-terrorism efforts by the international coalition, Musharraf said: “They are in the mountains and there are people who support them and hide them. These mountains are inaccessible, even the British never went in.”
“We are trying to locate them by all possible means, and we are not being able to - it is as simple as that. They are in the mountains and we do not even know whether they are in Afghanistan or on our side and they keep shifting,” the President said.
He dismissed as “absolute nonsense” a claim by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that the wanted Taliban leader Mullah Omar, a close ally of Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden, was hiding in Pakistan.
“Pakistan is being maligned by the West unfairly because of lack of understanding of the environment and reality by President Karzai himself,” Musharraf said, adding that he was “very angry” with the Afghan leader.