NEW YORK - Former president Pervez Musharraf has asked the United States not to micromanage Pakistans counterterrorism efforts, as he also criticised the US conduct in neighbouring Afghanistan. The US should assist as Pakistan tries to root out the Taliban and Al-Qaeda from within its borders, but dont get into micromanaging how to do it because we know how to do it better than you, Musharraf said in a speech in Houston on Saturday. The former Pakistani leader was speaking at an event sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Houston at a local hotel attended by some 700 people, according to reports in American media. Several dozen protesters stood about a half-block from the hotel on the nearest public property waving signs accusing the former president of being a dictator, the reports said. But inside the hotel, he received a standing ovation. He said the US and Pakistan created the Mujahideen, or the holy warriors, who flocked to Afghanistan in the 1980s to fight the Soviet force. But the US abandoned the 35,000 fighters after the Soviets were driven out, and they formed the nucleus of what would become Al-Qaeda, he said. The United States made a mistake when it refused to recognise the Taliban as a legitimate government, throwing away a chance to influence them and paving the way for Al-Qaeda to become influential, Musharraf said. The United States also erred by allowing the Northern Alliance, made up of ethnic minorities, to gain influence in the post-Taliban government instead of making more concessions to the Pashtun majority, he maintained. He said the US government must have representatives with close ties to the Pashtun population if it hopes to make any headway in bringing stability to Afghanistan. As for Al-Qaeda, only military force can root it out, he remarked. Musharrafs advice comes as President Barack Obama is deciding whether to change strategy in Afghanistan, where the US is under pressure from the growing Taliban insurgency. After enumerating the economic advances that Musharraf claimed Pakistan had made during his tenure, he said his country didnt need outside help to become an economic powerhouse. I am a firm believer that Pakistan is a country that has the resources and human capital to rise on its own with no assistance from anybody in the world, Musharraf was quoted as saying. Musharraf also urged the Pakistan government to combat what he said was a minority of religious radicals who are perverting Islam. He said suicide bombers were poor and illiterate and had been brainwashed into believing that suicide bombing would ensure them an idyllic afterlife. Suicide bombing is not Islamic, it is not religious, Musharraf said to applause.