Backing the Pakistani military line on the Afghan issue, former ISI chief Hamid Gul has claimed that its only Taliban and its elusive chief Mulla Omar who can guarantee that there would be no threat to the US from this part of the world.
Gul, very often known in the western world as the father of the Taliban said the Taliban should be recognised as a national resistance movement and the United States should hold talks with its leader Mullah Omar for peace in the region.
"This (the Taliban) is a national resistance movement. It should be recognised as such. They are Mujahideen of Afghanistan, as they were during the occupation by Soviet Union of Afghanistan. I think they are gaining momentum, gaining strength by the day. This should be now understood properly," Gul told Fareed Zakaria in an interview aired yesterday.
Gul served as the director general of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence during 1987-89.
"There is only one man who can give the guarantee that there will be no terrorism exported from Afghanistan. Neither Karzai nor somebody else, not even Pakistani government, nobody can give you the guarantee," Gul said.
"One man who can give the guarantee is Mullah Omar because he symbolises today the Afghan resistance. He has to be talked to. Don't talk to (Hamid) Karzai. He's a puppet," Gul said in response to a question when asked what advice he would give to General David Petraeus, Commander of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
"Well, instead of advising General Petraeus, I would advise President Obama, who came in on the promise of change, on the promise of shifting focus from external engagement to domestic problems, but he has unfortunately not been able to do it," he said.
"I think President Obama's speech in Cairo I think in May of 2009 was a very good speech, and I thought and I - in fact I commented on it - that his demands are very legitimate. He said in that speech that if we have no threat to America from that part of the world, we are prepared to pull out every single soldier from there," Gul said.
"They (Afghans) are very clever. Don't misunderstand them. Don't misread them. They have retained their independence because they've been always very treacherous," he said in response to another question.
Only Mulla Omar Can Guarantee No Threat to US: Gul
Lalit K Jha/Washington
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