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Sunday, 30 September, 2001, 18:42 GMT 19:42 UK
Pakistan pessimism over Taleban talks
Afghan refugees in Pakistan eat dinner as President Musharraf speaks on a TV behind them
Afghans in Pakistan watch President Musharraf speak
Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf has dampened hopes that the Taleban authorities will hand over Osama Bin Laden but says the doors remain open for more talks.

He also issued a warning to the Taleban that he saw real danger of their being damaged by the international coalition which is forming against them.

There's no evidence that has been shared with us as yet, so therefore, all that I know is from the televisio

President Pervez Musharraf
General Musharraf acknowledged in an interview on American television that two Pakistani missions had failed to convince the Taleban in neighbouring Afghanistan to hand over Bin Laden,

He said Pakistan would continue its efforts, but that "hope is very dim".

"We have our doors open and some progress has been made and we hope a little more progress can be made."

"We are interacting with the Taleban to moderate their views in accordance with the dictates of the world opinion and we are still carrying on doing that."

The United States had demanded that the Taleban hand over Bin Laden whom they suspect of being behind the suicide attacks on New York and Washington.


The president, who is backing the US-led campaign against terrorism, said he had the support of his entire people in backing President Bush's campaign against terrorism, with the exception of a small minority who, he said, would not be able to destablise Pakistan.

Pro-Taleban rally in Peshawar
Pakistani officials say Bin Laden supporters in Pakistan are a small minority
The Pakistani authorities are frustrated by small, but noisy protests organised by religious hardliners who see Bin Laden as a hero.

The president, who seized power in a 1999 coup, said that the United States had so far failed to show Pakistan any evidence linking Bin Laden to the terror attacks in New York and Washington earlier this month,

But he said he did expect Washington to share unclassified information with Islamabad.

"All I know is from the television," he joked.

The president said he also hoped that the Taleban would agree to release eight foreign aid workers facing trial charged with trying to convert Afghans to Christianity.

The BBC's Susannah Price in Islamabad
"General Musharraf has made it very clear he wants to keep contact going as long as possible"
See also:

25 Sep 01 | South Asia
Pakistan warns of Afghan instability
21 Sep 01 | South Asia
Pakistan protests turn violent
25 Sep 01 | South Asia
The wild border town of Quetta
27 Sep 01 | South Asia
Pakistan fears Kashmir fallout
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