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Taleban winning war, says Zardari

By Owen Bennett-Jones
BBC News, Islamabad

Asif Ali Zardari says the Taleban has the upper hand

The Pakistani Taleban have "the upper hand" and should be put on the list of banned organisations in Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto's widower has said.

Asif Ali Zardari said, in a BBC interview, that the world and Pakistan were losing the war on terror.

"It is an insurgency", he said, "and an ideological war. It is our country and we will defend it.

"The world is losing the war. I think at the moment they (the Taleban) definitely have the upper hand.

"The issue, which is not just a bad case scenario as far as Pakistan is concerned or as Afghanistan is concerned but it is going to be spreading further. The whole world is going to be affected by it."

Mr Zardari's strong remarks came shortly after the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) put his name forward as its presidential nominee.

Asif Ali Zardari (right)
Asif Ali Zardari took over the party leadership after his wife's assassination

The president is elected by the members of parliament and the four provincial assemblies, and Mr Zardari says he is confident he has the numbers he needs to win on 6 September.

Asif Zardari spent more than a decade in prison on murder and corruption charges but he insisted that the cases had failed because they were politically motivated.

He also dismissed reports that the Swiss authorities were still considering whether they should pursue a money-laundering case against him there.



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