Washington: In a frank admission, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday said America’s intelligence agency CIA and his country’s ISI together created the “monster” called Taliban. Taliban was “part of our past and your past, and the ISI and CIA created them together,” Mr. Zardari told the NBC news channel in an interview.

“There is a war,” he said. “It was [a] monster created by all of us... we forgot to make a cure for it”.

“It’s a war of our existence. We’ve been fighting this war much before they attacked 9/11. They’re kind of a cancer created by both of us, Pakistan and America and the world,” he said when asked whether there was any war inside Pakistan.

He also accused the U.S. of supporting the military rule of Pervez Musharraf who was alleged to be taking the side of the Taliban.

“But, the game changed after 9/11 when U.S. decided to root out this threat and Pakistan was straddling both sides.” But he disagreed with the popular belief in the U.S. that the Pakistan military and intelligence services still have sympathies for the Taliban.

Osama not alive

The world’s most wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden is “not alive,” he said while candidly describing the elusive terror mastermind as a U.S. “operator” who threatened to destabilise Benazir Bhutto government in 1989.

“I’ve said before that he — I don’t think he’s alive,” he said when asked “where is Osama bin Laden?”

“I have a strong feeling and I have sole reason to believe that, because I’ve asked my counterparts in the American intelligence agencies and they haven’t heard [from] him since seven years,” he said. Asked whether Pakistan was “not actively” hunting for Osama, he said the world was looking for the fugitive Al-Qaeda leader.

“I think the world is looking for him, and we are part of the world’s lookout brigade,” he said. — PTI