Skip to main content
  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print

Musharraf vows to fight extremism

  • Story Highlights
  • Musharraf says he has witnessed "rise of extremism, militancy and violence"
  • Musharraf: Military action, diplomacy key in fight against Taliban extremism
  • Pakistani president addressed final session of peace "jirga" in Afghan capital
  • Tribal assembly convened to discuss security along Afghan-Pakistani frontier
  • Next Article in World »
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

LAHORE, Pakistan (CNN) -- Military action and diplomacy are key in the fight against a rise in Taliban extremism currently plaguing Pakistan, the country's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, said during a joint Afghan-Pakistani peace jirga in Kabul.

"I firmly believe that terrorist elements and foreign militants must be dealt with a strong hand," the general said Sunday during the last session of a highly touted tribal assembly organized to ease tensions between the neighboring countries and to fight terrorism.

"Talibanization and extremism, however, represents a state of mind and requires more comprehensive, long-term strategy where military action must be combined with a political approach and socioeconomic development," he added.

The Pakistani leader, whose nearly eight-year rule is being challenged by opposition activists and Islamic militants, said he has witnessed "the rise of extremism, militancy and violence tearing at the fabric of our society."

In recent days a crisis had been brewing in Pakistan, with the country teetering on the edge of a state of emergency amid the growing security threat in the country's lawless tribal regions. But Musharraf, influenced in part by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, held off on the move.

On Sunday Musharraf addressed what he considers "three dimensions" of the "problem."

The first is the "core of violence and conflict" that typifies terrorist groups.

"Foreign militants" who belonged to groups such as al Qaeda and the Taliban, who are not prepared to reconcile and give up violence, created other problems, Musharraf said.

"There is the phenomenon of Talibanization and other forms of extremism," he said. And thirdly, "there are people that may be sympathetic to Taliban point of view and susceptible to extremism."

Such extremism was seen in July during the siege of Islamabad's Red Mosque, where students had hoped to impose Taliban-style Islamic law on the capital.

Around that same time a controversial truce Musharraf signed in 2006 with tribal leaders in the territories along the border with Afghanistan collapsed. That border region has long been described by U.S. intelligence as a safe haven for al Qaeda and Taliban fighters battling U.S. and Afghan troops.

However, despite being criticized for his tight grip on power, the United States relies on Musharraf to fight radical Islam and promote a moderate agenda in nuclear-armed Pakistan. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Mohsin Naqvi contributed to this report.

All About Hamid KarzaiPervez MusharrafThe TalibanAfghanistanPakistan

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print