of State Colin Powell
Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf
October 16, 2001
PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: (In Arabic: In the name of God most merciful and compassionate).
Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to this press conference. Let me say that
we have had very useful discussions. The visit of the United States Secretary
of State comes at a time of great challenge for Pakistan. His presence here
symbolizes the new, rejuvenated relationship between Pakistan and the United
States. We discussed a whole range of bilateral issues. The two sides agreed
to work together in order to develop and strengthen cooperation in all possible
The terrorist outrage in New York and Washington on 11th September was rightly
condemned by the whole world community. The government and people of Pakistan
spontaneously expressed shock and grief over the death of innocent people, offered
condolences to the bereaved families all over the world, and affirmed solidarity
with the American people. We joined the world community in offering cooperation
to bring perpetrators, organizers, and the sponsors of the terrorist attacks
Compliance with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions by
the Taliban government would have saved Afghanistan from the damage it is suffering
since 7th of October. We grieve for the innocent victims in Afghanistan. We
regret that the Government of Afghanistan jeopardized the interests of millions
of its own people.
Our decision to support the international campaign against terrorism in all
its manifestations is based on principles. The extraordinary session of the
OIC, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Foreign Ministers held on the
10th of October has endorsed this position taken by Pakistan. It has also denounced
the minority and fringe voices that tried to cause harm to Islam and the Muslims.
I emphasized to the Secretary that the root causes of most acts of terrorism
lie in political oppression and denial of justice. In order to achieve durable
peace or durable results, the current war on terrorism must address and eliminate
its root causes. The situation in Afghanistan presents a challenge as well as
an opportunity. We should focus not only on combating terrorism, but also on
helping the Afghans establish a durable political system and the rehabilitation
and reconstruction of their country. We agreed that durable peace in Afghanistan
would only be possible through the establishment of a broad-based multi-ethnic
government representing the demographic contours of Afghanistan freely chosen
by the Afghans without outside interference. Former King Zahir Shah, political
leaders, moderate Taliban leaders, elements from the Northern Alliance, tribal
elders, Afghans living outside their country, all can play a role in this regard.
The political process needs to be placed on a fast track in order to forestall
the possibility of a political vacuum. It should not lag behind the fast-moving
events in the military field nor should any attempt be made by any warring faction
to impose itself on Afghanistan in the wake of the military strikes against
the Taliban. The success of any political process will also depend on the economic
conditions. Afghanistan has been destroyed by over two decades of conflict.
The socio-economic infrastructure has been devastated. Agriculture is in ruins.
Pastures have been destroyed. Millions of mines litter the landscape. A massive
reconstruction effort is required to revive the economy.
Assistance would also be required for the repatriation of the millions of Afghan
refugees in Pakistan and Iran and for the millions of Afghans displaced internally
due to fighting, drought, and economic difficulties. A durable political settlement,
economic reconstruction, and return of Afghans to their country would also eliminate
the terrorists who have found safe havens in a war-torn Afghanistan. This is
why I believe that the military campaign in Afghanistan should be short and
targeted and it should be followed immediately by application of viable political
and economic strategies.
I briefed Secretary Powell about Pakistan's desire to develop tension-free relations
with India. I emphasized that normalization of relations would require that
the Kashmir dispute is resolved in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri
people. Kashmir remains at the heart of Pakistan-India tension. We agreed on
the need for the two sides to address this and other bilateral issues with sincerity
and with a sense of purpose.
Secretary Powell informed me about US willingness to play a helpful role in
the resolution of Pakistan-India differences. We agreed that peace and stability
in South Asia is not only in the interest of Pakistan and India but also of
the entire region and the world at large.
In the end, I would like to say that we have ushered in an era of closer bilateral
relations between Pakistan and the United States. Thank you very much.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Mr. President. Good afternoon ladies
and gentlemen, I am delighted to be here in Pakistan and I've had very excellent
discussions with the President and his cabinet and other colleagues in the course
of the morning and our discussions will continue into the afternoon. President
Bush asked me to come to Pakistan to demonstrate our enduring commitment to
our relationship with Pakistan. We are focusing today on the terrorist threat
emanating from Afghanistan, the al-Qaida organization and Usama bin Laden. But
we didn't stop there. We are also looking forward to strengthening our cooperation
on a full range of bilateral and regional issues. And I made the point to the
President that this isn't just a temporary spike in our relationship, but we
believe, as a result of the actions taken by Pakistan over the last five weeks,
we're truly at the beginning of a strengthened relationship, a relationship
that will grow and thrive in the months and years ahead.
We have had good talks today on how to build on our current, excellent cooperation
against international terrorism. The United States views that what we are building
here is, as I just said, is a solid foundation for a long-term and improved
relationship. I expressed our thanks to President Musharraf for his bold and
courageous actions as part of the global coalition against international terrorism.
I also expressed our condolences for the many Pakistanis who were lost in the
attacks on September 11. It reminds us once again that this attack in New York
and the attacks in Washington and what happened in Pennsylvania, but especially
in New York, was an attack against the civilized world. Some 80 nations lost
citizens in that attack and we must always keep that uppermost in mind. I expressed
our thanks to President Musharraf for coming forward so quickly and recognizing
that the attacks of September 11 may have taken place on American soil, but
they were in fact attacks on Pakistan as well as all members of the civilized
As we met today in Pakistan--a great Muslim nation--I reiterated that we have
no quarrel with the Islamic faith or the Afghan people. Our campaign is against
those who pervert a great religion in the service of evil. We also discussed
how to ease the plight of the Afghan refugees who are fleeing Taliban misrule.
Pakistan has played a leading role in receiving and caring for Afghan refugees
for many, many years and the United States has been the largest foreign donor
of humanitarian aid. Even today as part of our military campaign, U.S. planes
have been dropping badly needed food supplies to the Afghan people.
We also discussed, as the President noted, our mutual interest in a stable Afghanistan.
I shared with him and he shared with me our thoughts on how to begin the process
of rebuilding Afghanistan even as the military element of our strategy continues
and how to help the people of that country establish a stable broad-based government,
one that does not harbor terrorists and one that welcomes refugees instead of
producing them. I also reassured Pakistan of America's support and the support
of the international community as Pakistan joins the international community
in this campaign.
For example, President Bush has lifted a number of sanctions to allow us to
resume cooperation with Pakistan. We have also helped reschedule 379 million
dollars in Pakistan's bilateral debt and voted for new IMF loans. We had a very
straightforward discussion on the debt problem that is facing Pakistan and I
have told the President that I would take his strong message of what needs to
be done back to my colleagues in Washington and do everything we can to address
the debt issue with rescheduling, with respect to other activities that we can
take that will help Pakistan in this time of need.
Finally, we discussed ways to promote stability in South Asia, which we all
know is a critically important part of the world. I praised President Musharraf's
recent phone call to Prime Minister Vajpayee and we, too, believe that the Kashmir
issue is central to the relationship and can be resolved if all parties engaged
with a willingness to address their concerns in mutually acceptable ways. Issues
must be resolved through peaceful, political and diplomatic means, not through
violence and reliance on force, but with a determined respect for human rights.
The campaign against al-Qaida and Usama bin Laden and those who harbor them
is our top priority. This is what brought me here today. But I am also confident
that over time we will be able to expand our cooperation to accomplish the full
range of bilateral and multilateral issues that are of importance to both of
President Musharraf's commitment to return Pakistan to democracy will enhance
his effort to deepen social reform, improve education, and improve the lives
of his people. We share those important and lofty goals and in the coming months
the United States will take concrete steps to strengthen Pakistan's economy
and further broaden our commercial and trade ties. Together we can accomplish
great things and the American people look forward to the challenge of working
with the people of Pakistan in those goal achievements. And I'll be happy along
with the President to take a few questions.
QUESTION: I am Saleh Zaafir, I am editor for special reporting, Jang. While
condemning terrorism of September 11 and expressing heartfelt sympathies with
your great country, I wish to know your views about the struggle of the oppressed
people granted by the United Nations Security Council against oppressive regimes
which is fairly and sternly still engaged in state terrorism. How would you
differentiate such legitimate movements with terrorism? My clear reference is
toward dispute of Kashmir, and will you impress upon India to refrain from state
terrorism towards the Kashmiri people? Thank you.
SECRETARY POWELL: In my conversations both here and my conversations in India,
I will press upon both sides as I have here already today and it isn't a matter
of pressing, we have a mutual view on this, that dialogue between the two sides
is important, that terrorism has no place in the civilized world and I have
expressed my thanks to the President for his condemnation of terrorism with
the kind that we saw in Srinagar on the 1st of October. Mutual respect for each
other, a desire to accommodate the aspirations of the Kashmiri people and respect
for avoiding confrontation and understanding that provocation is to be avoided.
But above all, the beginning of a dialogue between the two sides is the most
important thing that is needed now. And that is the message I will also be taking
QUESTION: Could you please clarify the situation of . . . there have been a
couple of different stories. One is the Talibans Foreign Minister has
defected, the second one is that there is an offer on the table presented by
the President last night to you that the Taliban are prepared to hand over Usama
bin Laden in exchange of two or three days of halting of the bombardment. Can
you tell us if there is any other offer on the table that could resolve this?
SECRETARY POWELL: The President did not say that to me last night. And with
respect to where the foreign minister is, I cannot confirm where he is.
QUESTION: Secretary Powell, what assurances were you able to offer President
Musharraf that any post-Taliban government in Afghanistan would be one that
is friendly to Pakistan and did you meet with the representatives who are here
representing Zahir Shah in the meeting with the Pakistani Government and for
President Musharraf, are you prepared to support a U.S. military campaign in
Afghanistan as long as it lasts--as long as the U.S. believes it needs to lastin
other words, is there a deadline thats in your mind for such a campaign?
SECRETARY POWELL: I did not meet with the representatives of the King who are
here. With respect to your first question, in our discussions there was no doubt
that both our common goal of seeing that the post-Taliban government in Kabul
would be one that represented all the people of Afghanistan and would be a regime
that would obviously be friendly to all of its neighbors, to include Pakistan.
That has to be one of our goals, otherwise we are just creating a new situation
of instability and potential violence.
PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: On my part of the question, we have decided to be with
the coalition in the fight against terrorism and whatever operation is going
on in Afghanistan within the parameterswithin the three parameters which
have been enunciated--that is, the intelligence cooperation, use of air space
and logistical support. And to this extent we will certainly carry on cooperating
as long as the operation lasts. There are no deadlines which have been fixed
as youve indicated, but one really hopes that the operation is short and
obviously the duration of the operation is relative to the achievement of military
objectives, and therefore one hopes that military objectives are achieved and
the operation is short.
QUESTION: President Musharraf, may I ask what you mean by "moderate Taliban."
Is there such a thing? Mr. Secretary, does the United States agree that a moderate
Taliban belongs in a new Afghanistan?
PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: Certainly there are a lot of moderate Talibans. Yes, I
certainly believe so. Extremism is not in every Taliban so one could I
wouldnt like to get into the details of who are moderates, but one knows
for sure there are many moderate elements within the Taliban community.
SECRETARY POWELL: The term "Taliban" defines the current regime but
also defines a group of individualsa group of people. And if you got rid
of the regime, there would still be those who might find that the teachings
and the feelings and the beliefs of that movement still very important and to
the extent that they are willing to participate in the development of a new
Afghanistan with everybody being represented, then we would have to listen to
them or at least take them into account. You cant export them. You cant
send them to another country. You cant ethnically cleanse Afghanistan
after this is over, but you can certainly get rid of this particular regime
that has driven this country to such devastation and see whether those who used
to be adherents of such a regime are now willing to participate in a different
kind of government where the rights of all are respected and where it is accepted
by the international community.
QUESTION: Our president has advised you or given the proposal that this operation
against Afghanistan should be short and should be target-oriented, and Pakistan
has also concerns about Northern Alliance being included in the broad-based
government that you are looking for. What are your comments on this?
SECRETARY POWELL: First of all we would like the military campaign to be as
short as possible. We have no desire to extend the campaign beyond the achievement
of its goal. As the President said it has to be as long as necessary to achieve
the military goal. With respect to the Northern Alliance, I think we both agree
that all, all elements have to be included in discussions of the future of Afghanistan
that would include the Northern Alliance, and the southern tribal leaders and
all elements. When you say broad based it means all have to have an opportunity
to participate in how Afghanistan will be governed in the future.
QUESTION: President Musharraf, your country according to a Gallup Poll and certainly
the symptoms on the street is very much against the U.S.-led campaign, 87 per
cent against the military strikes. How can you sustain your support if this
does become an open-ended commitment and it is not short and targeted as you,
and I'm sure Secretary Powell, would like it to be? What if it does take a long
time as many U.S. military officials have projected?
PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: First of all, I would like to say that the results of polls
ought to be taken with a little bit of pinch of salt because it depends of how
you address the question and you get the results accordingly. However, having
said that, one would like to say, certainly majority of the people are against
the operation in Afghanistan. They would like to see this operation to be terminated
as fast as possible and that is what I would urge the coalition -- to achieve
the military objectives and terminate the operation. However, one more factor
that needs to be taken into account, the majority of the people of Pakistan
are with my government's action. That also is a result of the same Gallup Poll
that you are talking of. So maybe you have to analyze both parts and see which
one features where. There is a degree of dichotomy in the results of each question.
QUESTION: A question for Secretary Powell. You have expressed thanks for the
"bold and courageous actions" as you put it of President Musharraf,
at the same time the United States has frozen the assets of a major charity,
the Rabita charity, and there are hundreds of schools teaching young boys in
this country that Usama bin Laden is a hero. How can you win a war against terrorism
if children and young men are being taught that Usama bin Laden is a role model?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think it's false teaching. What kind of a role model is
it to be someone who invades another country, helps destroy it, uses it for
evil purposes and then goes out murders innocent civilians, claims he is doing
that on the basis of his faith that provides for no such action on the part
of anyone. So it is false teaching. I am confident that as Pakistan moves forward
it will put in place an education system that will teach respect for all faiths,
that will be balanced and will be concerned as much about educating youngsters
for a bright future as it will about teaching them false lessons about evil
PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: I would like to chip in with whatever the Secretary has
said, and I totally agree with him. I think these are extremist views and these
are extremist tendencies which are not wide-based at all in Pakistan, and therefore
we need to take deeper actions, long-term actions to check such extremist views.
QUESTION: You have spoken a lot about a post-Taliban Afghanistan. How close
do you think the regime is to collapsing?
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know, and I think it best not to speculate. I think
the regime is under enormous pressure. Every neighbor that it has, has turned
against it. It is the subject of the efforts of the entire international community
to go after its finances. There is also a military campaign being directed against
it and there are forces inside the country that are operating against it. So
it is under enormous pressure but I cannot tell you when that pressure will
cause it to collapse. Just can't put a time line on it.
QUESTION: Do you see any anecdotal evidence about what you are seeing in Taliban
SECRETARY POWELL: There is anecdotal evidence that some of the leaders are defecting
and that some of the provinces have shifted allegiance. But it doesn't yet paint
a complete picture that I can have confidence in.
QUESTION: President Musharraf, the objective, you have said you would like to
have achieved it quickly to gain what objective? You would like the action carried
out to be terminated quickly to gain what objective?
PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: No, I wouldn't like to get into the details of the military
implementation or the military operation. But this is in the realm of the military
action that you certainly need to identify the military objectives to be achieved
and then push through those objectives through military action. I wouldn't like
to get into the details of what military objectives specifically are.