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No guarantee on ending cross-border terrorism: Musharraf

October 03, 2003 19:28 IST

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Friday said he cannot guarantee an end to cross-border terrorism.

Musharraf, however, claimed there was no government support for what was happening on the Line of Control.

"Seventy thousand Indian troops couldn't seal the border, so I cannot also guarantee [it]. But I can guarantee one thing: there is no government sponsoring of anything that is going on the Line of Control," Musharraf told Time magazine in an interview to be published on October 6.

On the crackdown against Al Qaeda, he said, "It is in Pakistan's interest to act against Al Qaeda. We want to do it. Our forces want to do it."

Dispelling the impression that Pakistan has not done enough to root out Al Qaeda and the Taliban, he said, "This is a very, very unfair comment. We have done the maximum in the fight against terrorism. Almost 500 people have been apprehended by Pakistan."

Musharraf said it was not possible for Pakistan to launch a military operation to sweep the entire tribal area.

"I'm afraid that is not within the capability of Pakistan or even of the US forces. Why has the US not succeeded in doing that in Afghanistan? It is not doable. I think it is very convenient to put the failure on Pakistan," he said.

On the Al Qaeda terror network, Musharraf said, "I think they have been very significantly diminished. They are on the run. They are hiding."

He replied in the affirmative when asked whether Osama bin Laden was alive.

Asked if there was any evidence to suggest that bin Laden was alive, he said, "Electronic means. We know it because of messages going up and down. We are monitoring things. Through cooperation with [US] intelligence, we know."

On whether bin Laden was in Pakistan, Musharraf said, "Your guess is as good or as bad as mine. I am reasonably sure he is constantly on the move. So, therefore, he could be moving on our side or, of course, on the other side [in Afghanistan]."

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