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'Indians Are Arrogant, Hypocritical'

Charlie Wilson, a little older and tempered, sits in his plush office surrounded by photos of the mujahideen, General Zia-ul-Haq and war memorabilia. Excerpts from an interview:
INTERVIEWS Charlie Wilson
AP
Where would you place yourself in the history of the Cold War?
It's about where we place the Afghan war. It was a critical factor in discrediting the Red Army and speeded up the collapse of the Soviet Union by 10-15 years.

Those very Afghan warriors you admired turned on the US and quite a bit of the rest of the world.
People have trouble understanding that the problem is the Arabs. Remember, there wasn't a single Afghan who was involved in the 9/11 attacks. And no Arab was involved in the Afghan war. None. It's a great myth that the cia recruited Arabs to fight the Soviets. They didn't need them—manpower wasn't a problem. The problem then was training the mujahideen and finding weapons. The Saudis helped with the money. We had three million refugees and they were financing most of the medical care and food and they did a good job.

The alleged 9/11 mastermind is said to be Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, found in Pakistan this year and turned over. How does it feel to be Pakistan's lobbyist, a country where terrorists are being found repeatedly?
I don't think that's true. People in the US think it was Osama or his No. 2 who did it. The US administration realises that Gen Musharraf is taking a huge risk by supporting the US.

You are quoted as saying that you never liked the Indians. Why?
India was very hypocritical. They professed to be a great democracy yet they were the only volunteer satellite of the Soviet Union while preaching to the rest of us. All the others were forced satellites. Let me say—that was Mr Nehru and Mrs Gandhi's India. But I will tell you frankly my general experience of Indians is that they are rather arrogant, know a lot more than anyone else about most things and are stiff-necked. Just like the Americans. But I noticed that they changed very quickly once the Soviets collapsed (laughs).

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SECTION: International
SUBSECTION: Interviews
OUTLOOK: 11 August, 2003
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