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November 18, 1999
Musharraf's may not be against India, hints ex-KGB chief
Former KGB chief General Leonid Sherbashin has advised India and Russia to keep in mind the very first statements of Pakistan's coup leader General Pervez Musharraf concerning India.
He did not wholly subscribe to the view that former Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharief's reconciliatory position towards India had displeased his generals. The reasons provided for the coup, he pointed out, ''are to conceal the power struggle.''
In the '70s and '80s, Gen Sherbashin worked for the KGB in India, Pakistan and Iran. His stock in Soviet intelligence circles plummeted when his Delhi unit advised the Kremlin to write off Indira Gandhi following her electoral debacle in 1977.
Emerging from isolation, the former spy, in an interview to the Russian daily Novaya Gazeta reminded the world that the Pakistani armed forces ''are the most organised and stabilising factor in Pakistan. Once the internal situation gets out of hand, the military steps in and restores order. I don't think this is the last coup in Pakistan.''
The Central Intelligence Agency and the United States department of defence were linked directly, and through Pakistan, with the Afghan opposition, the general alleged.
Asked about international terrorists being trained by Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, he said he did not understand why so much importance was being given to the man.
''Americans always need the embodiment of a universal evil Castro, Khomeini, Mao and the like. There is something strange in the American psyche,'' Gen Sherbashin remarked.
Regarding the Taliban, he felt they would keep economic and social interests in view once they gained complete control of Afghanistan.
With its eyes on Turkmen oil and gas Islamabad would be looking forward to a friendly and controllable Afghanistan, Gen Sherbashin added.
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