Skip to main content
CNN.com /transcript

CNN TV

EDITIONS
SERVICES
CNN TV
EDITIONS

CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America's New War: Pakistani High Commissioner to U.K. Discusses Situation

Aired September 26, 2001 - 05:40   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Some of the headlines this morning detailing comments from Mr. Bush yesterday in his war against terrorism suggest that the White House may be urging Afghans to overturn the Taliban government in Afghanistan. There are those, though, in that region who do not necessarily agree that that is the thing to do.

We're joined this morning by the Pakistani High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Abdul Kader Jaffer. We thank you very much for your time, Minister. We appreciate you coming in.

ABDUL KADER JAFFER, PAKISTANI HIGH COMM. TO THE U.K.: Thank you.

HARRIS: And we'd like your comments in response to these words that we're hearing from the White House. Is Pakistan interpreting the words coming out of Washington right now to indicate that the White House of the United States wants the Taliban removed from that -- they want that regime actually removed from power in Afghanistan?

JAFFER: I don't think that's the answer to the problems the world faces today. I think what we need to have a united government of all these sections of the people in Afghanistan. I don't think the people are going to accept any forcing of a leader by an outside power. I don't think this is desired, nor is it advisable.

HARRIS: Is -- are you saying this because you're concerned about -- more concerned about what happens in Afghanistan versus what may happen in Pakistan if the Taliban is removed? We know there is quite a bit of support within Pakistan for the Taliban.

JAFFER: No, the history is -- history is behind us. You know what has happened in the past when the British attempted to take -- to have a problem in Afghanistan. The Russians, too, have had a problem in Afghanistan. I think we need to be very careful and cautious. They're a very independent country, and we cannot have a government to be appointed by remote control. I think you need a unified action, you need people to get together and select their own leadership. I think that is most important...

HARRIS: Well in this case,...

JAFFER: ... for any government. HARRIS: OK, I understand, sir. But let me ask you this because it seems as though Pakistan is positioning itself rather precariously here. If your country thinks that the Taliban should not be removed, it would seem then that you're supporting a regime that is actually protecting terrorists...

JAFFER: We are not...

HARRIS: ... and yet you're engaging...

JAFFER: We -- no, we are not saying that.

HARRIS: You're saying that you're against terrorism.

JAFFER: No, we are not -- we are not -- we are not saying that. We are saying have a -- have a government which is acceptable to all sections of the people. Of course the majority today is Taliban. You can't support Northern Alliance which holds only 5 or 10 percent. I think the largest section of the people, 90 percent are Taliban, but the -- all the sections of people must be brought together, must be concerted and a -- and a -- and an acceptable government should be brought into place. This -- we have been saying this for a long time. It's nothing -- it's nothing new.

HARRIS: Then, sir, what pressure do you think there is that remains to be put upon the Taliban to actually do something about rounding up Osama bin Laden? It appears as though they don't have the will to do so right now.

JAFFER: I think most important is for the united government to share the evidence they have about Osama and address this issue. I think this is what the Talibans have already said that they are willing to -- have said they would like to share the evidence the United States government has, and I think it's very important. I would even suggest an international tribunal should -- he should be -- if he decides to surrender on getting the evidence about himself, about his group. I think we need to have an international tribunal with our chief justices or maybe at Hague and have him tried there. I'm sure he would -- I hope he surrenders. He should realize the gravity of this situation. He should realize that there is -- there -- innocent lives are at stake.

HARRIS: Are you then...

JAFFER: It's most unfortunate.

HARRIS: Are you then -- are you then urging then that those who would join this coalition to not actually target Osama bin Laden, physically going after him and trying to kill him then?

JAFFER: I hope not. I hope that -- I think most important today is that he should surrender himself. The Taliban government was unsure, and Taliban government says we would like to see the evidence about Osama bin Laden involved in this tragic incident in New York and Washington. I think the United States government has -- I hear that they have evidence which they should share with everyone concerned, the Islamic world in general, and get the support of everyone. I think the menace we know is terror -- terror -- terrorism, which we must eradicate from this world. It is affecting peace in all countries of the world. We have been -- we have been victims of this also in the past and recently.

HARRIS: Yes, we are quite familiar with what's happened there in your country over the last couple of years.

Let me finally ask you this, we understand that the United States has been putting pressure on many Islamic nations to cut off -- those few that had maintained contacts with the Taliban to cut them off. We understand Saudi Arabia did so yesterday, but Pakistan is still maintaining its contacts with the Taliban. Is the U.S. still urging...

JAFFER: I...

HARRIS: ... Pakistan to...

JAFFER: I think it...

HARRIS: ... sever its ties?

JAFFER: No, they are not. I think -- I think the world should understand it is very important for Pakistan at this stage to maintain relations with Afghanistan. We are the only ones now, as you see. Before there was UAE who also cut off the relations, Saudi Arabia also, now Pakistan needs to maintain that relation so that at least we can -- it is -- Pakistan is a door to a dialog with Afghanistan. We engage them. We have -- we don't isolate them again. I don't think it's proper. The problems we are having today is because we -- the world has isolated Afghanistan. After the -- after the war against communism, we should have -- we should have had an engagement with them, we should have assisted them resolve their many problems. I think we shut our eyes to the problems of Afghanistan.

HARRIS: Commissioner,...

JAFFER: Anyway, I hope we have now woken up -- woken up to this tragic incident and try and mend and try and improve the situation for the people of Afghanistan, for the world at large. We must eradicate this menace.

HARRIS: Commissioner, we thank you very much for engaging us in dialog this morning.

JAFFER: Thank you, sir.

HARRIS: We very -- we very much appreciate your coming in and sharing your perspective with us this morning.

JAFFER: Thank you. Thank you, pleasure.

HARRIS: Commissioner Abdul Kader Jaffer.

JAFFER: It's a pleasure, a pleasure to be here.

HARRIS: Thank you very much. Take care.

JAFFER: Thank you, sir.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

 Search   


Back to the top