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Bush Buried Musharraf’s Al-Qaeda Links

Bush Buried Musharraf’s Al-Qaeda Links

Asia Times
August 21, 2008

Pervez Musharraf’s resignation as Pakistan’s president on Monday brings to an end an extraordinarily close relationship between Musharraf and the George W Bush administration, in which Musharraf was lavished with political and economic benefits from the United States despite policies that were in sharp conflict with US security interests.

It is well known that Bush repeatedly praised Musharraf as the most loyal ally of the United States against terrorism, even though the Pakistani military was deeply compromised by its relationship with the Taliban and Pakistani Islamic militants.

What has not been reported is that the Bush administration

covered up the Musharraf regime’s involvement in the activities of the Abdul Qadeer Khan nuclear technology export program and its deals with al-Qaeda’s Pakistani tribal allies.

The problem faced by the Bush administration when it came into office was that the Pakistani military, over which Musharraf presided, was the real terrorist nexus with the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

As Bruce Riedel, National Security Council (NSC) senior director for South Asia in the Bill Clinton administration, who stayed on the NSC staff under the Bush administration, observed in an interview with this writer last September, al-Qaeda “was a creation of the jihadist culture of the Pakistani army”.

If there was a state sponsor of al-Qaeda, Riedel said, it was the Pakistani military, acting through its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Vice President Dick Cheney and the neo-conservative-dominated Bush Pentagon were aware of the intimate relationship between Musharraf’s regime and both the Taliban and al-Qaeda. But al-Qaeda was not a high priority for the Bush administration.

After 9/11, the White House created the political myth that Musharraf, faced with a clear choice, had “joined the free world in fighting the terrorists”. But as Asia expert Selig S Harrison has pointed out, on September 19, 2001, just six days after he had supposedly agreed to US demands for cooperation against the Taliban regime and al-Qaeda, Musharraf gave a televised speech in Urdu in which he declared, “We are trying our best to come out of this critical situation without any damage to Afghanistan and the Taliban.”

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