Academy of Achievement Logo
Achiever Gallery
  The Arts
   + [ Public Service ]
  Science & Exploration
  My Role Model
  Recommended Books
  Academy Careers
Keys to Success
Achievement Podcasts
About the Academy
For Teachers

Search the site

Academy Careers


If you like His Excellency Hamid Karzai's story, you might also like:
George H.W. Bush,
Benazir Bhutto
Jimmy Carter,
Khaled Hosseini,
Greg Mortenson and
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Hamid Karzai can also be seen and heard in our Podcast Center

Related Links:

Share This Page
  (Maximum 150 characters, 150 left)

Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai
Profile of Hamid Karzai Biography of Hamid Karzai Interview with Hamid Karzai Hamid Karzai Photo Gallery

Hamid Karzai Interview (page: 3 / 7)

President of Afghanistan

Print Hamid Karzai Interview Print Interview

  Hamid Karzai

I called the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. I said, "I am Hamid Karzai." They said, "Oh yes, of course, we know you. Where are you? Are you alive?" I said, "Of course. I'm talking to you, I have to be alive." They said, "Oh good that you are alive. What is it that we can do for you?" I said, "Can you send us weapons?" You will be surprised. They said, "Yes, where are you?" I said, "Well, I don't know where I am. There are mountains here, there is a village." That's what technology does. They said, "Where is that?" I said, "This is Uruzgan." "Okay, we know Uruzgan. How far are you away from the capital of Uruzgan?" I said, "Well, eleven hours by foot." They couldn't guess that. They said, "What do you mean eleven hours by foot?" I said, "Well, I have trouble. Eleven hours by foot and I'm in a valley here." They said, "Which way? East or west?" I said, "I don't know if I'm east of the city or west of the city. I cannot tell." Then I said, "I'll call you in a half an hour." Then I went around and asked people, "Which way are we?" Finally somebody said, "Probably we are west." And I said, "All right." And I called back, I said, "Here is somebody that says probably we are west." They said, "Fine. You go tonight and you make four fires..." -- this is unbelievable -- " a range of 100 meters away from each other, at four corners of a place that you think is flat in these mountains. We will find out where you are."

I went and I asked people. I said, "Go make four fires at about 11 in the evening." He looked at me and he said, "Why? Four fires on top of four mountains in the evening?" I said, "It's cold. We'll be warmer there. So let's go." They said, "Fine." They went and collected wood and made four fires. The next day I called again and they said, "We know where you are." I don't know, satellites or whatever. It was done with imagery. "Now tomorrow you expect our weapons." I said, "All right." Then we waited. It didn't come, and we waited and it didn't come. At 1:30 in the morning -- at one o'clock I was very tired, so I went to sleep right there. We slept in -- what do you call -- where shepherds take their animals at night during the summer? I don't know the name in English. Animal rooms. A manger? Fine, yes, something like that. So we slept in that. Suddenly somebody came and said, "Hamid, wake up. The planes are here." And when I woke up the planes were really there. The planes were really there.

We received food, ammunition and weapons in the middle of nowhere in central Afghanistan at 2:00 a.m. in the morning by three American planes that flew probably from the U.S. or Europe or somewhere that dropped us 15 parcels. They did not fall in the right place, though. They went quite across to the other mountains, but we went after them and by the next morning we recovered them.

The Taliban came after us just the day after the weapons came, 400 of them. A villager an hour away from us woke up when he saw so many troops coming towards us. This villager ran toward us and informed one of our sentries that there were 400 of them coming.

The man came to me, woke me up at about 4:30 in the morning and I was in a tent that was made out of a parachute of the things that came from the sky and he said that, "They are coming." I said, "Who?" He said, "What do you mean 'who?' The Taliban!" This villager is here and he said, "They are coming." I said, "All right. Let's go and stop them." I went back to sleep. Imagine. I never imagined that they would dare come to us 11 hours away and walk all that long. After another half an hour he came by. He said, "I have two prisoners." I said, "What do you mean two prisoners?" He said, "The Taliban. Two Afghans have come and surrendered and they told him that 400 are on their way. They are mostly Arabs and Pakistanis. They are after you. They will kill you, you can be sure."

[ Key to Success ] Courage

In a few minutes fighting had begun. We felt that we were defeated, so we ran out of the top of the mountain. We had no communications. We had nothing, only the guns that we had received the night before from America. By evening, when we learned that they were defeated, it was too late By that time we had decided to split. We had sent some of our forces down the valley, some of our forces to the western villages, and there were only about eleven of us, that wonderful group. That we had completely lost emerged in the evening and said, "Look we have won. The Taliban have all gone away and the area is back in our hands." I said, "Too late. Everybody has left. We have asked them to go away." That is how the other part of the journey began. From this part onwards, ladies and gentlemen, is the best part of the story. Not a single shot was fired by us against the Taliban. They kept running themselves. Any village that we would go to, the Taliban from that village would run away. Any town that you would go to, the Taliban from that town would run away. Any place that you would go to, the Taliban would run away. There I learned that the people in Afghanistan were in such a pain, in such a terrible suffering that the slightest opportunity given, they would defend themselves, they would liberate their country.

Hamid Karzai Interview, Page: 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   

This page last revised on Sep 23, 2010 15:14 EDT