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If you like His Excellency Hamid Karzai's story, you might also like:
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Benazir Bhutto
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Hamid Karzai

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Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai
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Hamid Karzai Interview (page: 7 / 7)

Former President of Afghanistan

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  Hamid Karzai

There has still been some fighting in Afghanistan. Do you feel like you have the support to bring everyone together and make this a cohesive society?

Hamid Karzai: Oh a lot of it, yes. Mainly because the common man, in Afghanistan wants it so strongly, and the warlords know that very well, and also because of the presence of the international forces and the attention of the world. The warlords know that a combination of Afghanistan and the international community would make it difficult for them to misbehave.

Why are there people who hate the U.S. so much, Chairman?

Hamid Karzai Interview Photo
Hamid Karzai: Not in Afghanistan. No, the U.S. is seen as a liberator. They think that America has liberated them, that America has brought a good life, a new life, to them. They feel much safer with American troops around. It's an irony for a nation that has fought foreign troops for centuries, defeated the British, defeated the Soviets, and now the Americans they see as liberators, because Americans and the allied forces really came to liberate Afghanistan from a tremendous horror, the horror of terrorism.

One day we were having dinner with some guests and there was an elderly man sitting there with us. His name is Aziz Agha Aziz Agha is a man who had lost eight of his children and grandchildren to one of the accidental American bombs. The planes were chasing the Taliban. The Taliban moved into a house and the plane went and bombed that house. That was a civilian house. The whole family was destroyed and eight children were killed. Only this grandfather remained alive.

Aziz Agha was sitting with me there, having dinner with me. That was the first time that the American Special Forces came to Tirin Kot. My secretary, he came in and said, "The Americans that have arrived last night, two of them want to see you." They were very nice men. One of them was called Gregg and the other was Jason, Captain Jason. He was wounded by the same accidental bomb that we received later on. I said, "Bring them in." When they came in and they sat, I suddenly noticed that the man who family was killed by the American bombing was also here. I felt embarrassed. I did not know what to do. I thought this man might misbehave or say something that would not be good.

This man said, "Hamid, are these Americans?" He said, "Tell them that I have lost eight of my children at one of your accidental bombs, but I don't care. Even if I lost more of my people, of my children, I wouldn't care; I would accept it because you are here to liberate Afghanistan." Now that remark, for me, for a man to accept the loss of his grandchildren and say that he is willing to accept more losses because the country is going to be liberated, was the highest form of legitimacy in the endeavor, in the struggle against terrorism in Afghanistan, that the Afghan people wanted to be liberated by whatever means, even if they lost their families.

[ Key to Success ] Passion

From that point onwards, the force with which we moved against the Taliban and the way the terrorists ran away, was most remarkable. We came to Kandahar in peace. We went to Kabul and started the Afghan government. As the head of the Afghan government, I began to receive people. Almost all of them, the majority of them, say they want more international security forces, more ISOF forces, more allied forces to fight against these people.

They never ask me for food. They never ask me for help for their daily lives. They always ask for help for the future, for the future of Afghanistan. That is what we are concentrating on, a good future for the Afghan people. And that future has begun with our children going to school. For me, the happiest moments of my life are when I go out in the morning sometimes, some places and I see children going to school. That has been possible because of the help that America gave, because of the help the international community gave, and I thank you very much for that.

[ Key to Success ] Vision

Does the phrase, American Dream, have resonance for them?

Hamid Karzai: Not for us in Afghanistan, the way it is in America. For Afghans, it's an Afghan dream.

What's the Afghan dream?

Hamid Karzai: To have a good country, a respectable country, a nice country. I was told the other day by a gentleman that the National Democratic Institute in America -- NDI -- had done a survey in Afghanistan among the common Afghan people as to what was their biggest happiness in the past six months, and almost all Afghans told them the return of Afghan dignity. So that's the Afghan dream.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It was a great honor to talk to you.

Thank you very much.

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