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Karzai grateful for the "little help" to Afghanistan

The following is a transcript of ABC News’ Diane Sawyer’s interview with Afghan president Hamid Karzai. The president says he is grateful for the “little help” that has been sent to his war battered country but disputes President Obama’s claim that Afghanistan once had a “blank check” for the U.S. The interview took place on January 12, 2010 in Kabul.

http://abcnews.go.com/WN/Afghanistan/abcs-diane-sawyer-interviews-afghan-president-hamid-karzai/story?id=9544477

by teru kuwayama at 2010-01-14 16:19:26 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

SAWYER: Excuse me. On that point, what’s the most useful thing external countries could do to help the women of Afghanistan, to help change their lives, their mortality in childbirth, the abuse that they endure?

KARZAI: Education. Education. Education. Education. That’s the only and the best way and a long-term solution.

by teru kuwayama | 14 Jan 2010 16:01 | Palo Alto, California, United States | | Report spam→
SAWYER: When you went to Helmand, there was yet another attempt. We were told it was rocket-fueled gunfire that was fired at you. How many assassination attempts against you?

KARZAI: I don’t think there was anything like that.

SAWYER: No?

KARZAI: I saw it in the press. I didn’t notice it. Nobody reported it to me. So I have — I heard one or two bangs. I thought that was, you know, a door shut or opened violently. I’m not aware of any such attacks there.

SAWYER: How many assassination attempts against you, against (inaudible)

KARZAI: I don’t know. Maybe three, four? That’s not much.

by teru kuwayama | 14 Jan 2010 16:01 | Palo Alto, California, United States | | Report spam→
SAWYER: I know you’ve said that you do not feel the president’s announcement about 2011 is an exit date. But how would you feel if, in July of 2011, you see American troops as they’re exiting the country?

KARZAI: In a sense — in a sense, that — that — that exit date is good for us. It pushes us to harder work, to strengthen our forces, to train our forces, to be realistic about life in Afghanistan, and to think many times over of how better we can use our own resources and live with our own means and protect our own country, though I know that America will not be completely out in another 18 months or 15 months.

by teru kuwayama | 14 Jan 2010 16:01 | Palo Alto, California, United States | | Report spam→
SAWYER: When President Obama criticizes the government of Afghanistan, your reaction when you hear him?

KARZAI: Well, he hasn’t done that — he did that when he was in the — in the race for — for president in America.

SAWYER: He made the one statement where he said that there will be no more blank checks.

KARZAI: Blank checks we never had, actually. We really never had a blank check. We are only receiving 20 percent of the resources given to Afghanistan somehow through the Afghan government. The rest is spent by the donors themselves, of which even on a count (ph) is not given to us.

So we never had a blank check. But we’re grateful even for the little money that’s come to Afghanistan, even for the little help that’s come to Afghanistan. We have no right over the American people to — to pay for us or to — or to help us. This is our country. We must protect it ourselves and — and — and provide for it ourselves.

So help from America is welcome. And even a penny is worth billions for us. In terms of gratitude, we are grateful for the help that we have received.

But politically talking, in terms of two countries and two nations, and the needs of each, we have not been given a blank check. We have never been given one, and we don’t expect one, and that’s not right also to expect one. So we are grateful anyway.

by teru kuwayama | 14 Jan 2010 16:01 | Palo Alto, California, United States | | Report spam→
SAWYER: And a measure of gratitude?

KARZAI: Measure of gratitude to the American people, yes, definitely, for all that help given to us and for all the assistance provided and for the training of the Afghan army and the Afghan police and all that. But on the war on terror, it’s the United States that has to be grateful to Afghanistan. It’s our soil that’s — that’s being used. It’s our people that are put in danger every day for a purpose which is not only ours, which is also America’s, which is also European, which is also the rest of the world, in which Afghanistan is in the front line.

SAWYER: But Americans feel they’re also — it’s, in a sense — well, can I say this…

KARZAI: Sure, go ahead. Go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

SAWYER: … think I can say a war on Taliban, but the American people also feel that lives are being sacrificed to keep the Taliban from returning.

KARZAI: We — we are not against the Taliban returning, if they return…

SAWYER: But to power?

KARZAI: … if they return peacefully to their own country, accepting the Afghan constitution, accepting Afghanistan’s way of life, and accepting to come back and live in their old country peacefully, within the laws of the country, and contest for — for government or power through the legitimate means. That’s all right. We are actually working very hard to make that happen.

But those who are with Al Qaida, those who are with terrorist networks, those who are the enemies of all of us, who are bound to kill our children here and in Washington and in Islamabad and in Jeddah or in — in Marrakech or in Egypt or in Germany, of course, they have to be dealt with accordingly and not allowed to return.

SAWYER: And it is a worthy sacrifice of lives for all?

KARZAI: For the safety and security of the rest of us in the world, it is a worthy sacrifice, yes. I hope it wouldn’t happen. I hope we wouldn’t need it. But it is, unfortunately, a reality, and we have to face it.

SAWYER: Mr. President, it is so good to see you again.

KARZAI: Very good to see you, ma’am. Most welcome.

by teru kuwayama | 14 Jan 2010 16:01 | Palo Alto, California, United States | | Report spam→

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