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Monday, 1 October, 2001, 19:19 GMT 20:19 UK
Musharraf admits failure over Taleban
Pervez Musharraf
Musharraf: Re-evaluating policy towards Taleban
Pakistan's military ruler has admitted that his government's efforts to persuade the Taleban to change their hard-line stance have failed.

In an interview for the BBC's Hardtalk programme, President Pervez Musharraf said the militia's days as the ruling force in Afghanistan were now numbered.

It appears that the United States will take action in Afghanistan, we have conveyed this to the Taliban

President Musharraf
"Because of the stand that the Taleban have taken... confrontation will take place," he said.

President Musharraf said he was sure Pakistan would be included in whatever decisions the United States made in relation to Afghanistan's future.

"We have to see what the action plan is in Afghanistan, and then we are also concerned with what kind of dispensation there will be in Afghanistan," he said.

"These are very very critical issues of concern to us, and I'm reasonably sure that we will be in the loop with the United States to decide to be taking the decision on these important issues."

Pro-Taleban rally in Peshawar
Musharraf says Islamic militants are in a minority
Pakistan was until earlier this month the Taleban's main backer, and is the only country to still recognise them as the government of Afghanistan.

But President Musharraf said the scenario in Afghanistan had changed and his government was now re-evaluating its policy towards the country.

He admitted that his efforts to persuade the Taleban to hand over Osama Bin Laden - America's prime suspect for the terror attacks on New York and Washington - had not succeeded.

There have been suggestions that the American-backed coalition will support the opposition Northern Alliance or bring back the former king, Zahir Shah, to replace the Taleban.

The president said he did not know where Bin Laden was, but he was sure the Taleban did.

He added that the Saudi-born dissident's supporters in Pakistan were religious extremists who were in the minority.

He said that despite the current crisis, he was determined to carry on with his "road map" to restore democracy and hold elections next year.

The BBC's John Simpson
"It looks as though the moderate voices in Washington and elsewhere are winning this war"
Pakistan's President General Musharraf
speaks to the BBC's Lyse Doucet
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
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