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Zardari plans to go after Taliban

September 29, 2008 19:08 IST

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Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has said that he intends to "go after Taliban [Images] and other radical forces in his country" as well as "handle" powerful bodies like the Inter-Services Intelligence.

"It is my decision that we will go after them (Taliban), we will free this country," Zardari said, asserting that this will be his first priority, "because I will have no country otherwise. I will be President of what?"

Labelling the Taliban and other radical forces as a "cancer in the society", the Pakistan president minced no words, saying, "I will suck the oxygen out of their system so there will be no Talibs." 

When asked if the assassination of his wife was motivating him to confront Islamic militancy, he said, "Of course. It is my revenge. I take it every day. I will fight them because they are the cancer to my society, not because of my wife only but because they are cancer, Yes and they did kill the mother of my children, so their way of life is what I want to kill."

Asked if he was afraid, 53-year-old Zardari, in an interview to the New York Times, said, "I'm concerned. I'm not afraid. Because I don't want to die so soon, I have a job to do."
    
The paper said that Zardari had a tough job ahead as "if Pakistan was the most dangerous country in the world, its Presidency is one of the world's least enviable post."

Zardari said his "new medicine" for the tribal areas would include industrial investment, incentives for alternative crops to poppy like corn, and a message that "we are hitting the Taliban" so make sure "your space is not being used by them."

But, the New York Times said, Pakistan is short of cash to strike deals like those done in Iraq's turbulent Anbar-province, in its own tribal areas.

The paper said that Zardari had made an impassioned plea for the Saudis and others to slash his annual oil bill by US $ 15 billion and give "a democratic Pakistan oil at their base price."

He also asked the French for helicopters and the US for "blanket support" in persuading every country to buttress Pakistan "according to its strengths," the Times reported.
    
The New York Times said Zardari came out as a man who wanted genuine conciliation with India and Afghanistan, which was essential to the region's stability.




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