2 Mar 2011

Hamid Karzai on the Taliban, corruption and WikiLeaks

Exclusive: Hamid Karzai says the military surge in Afghanistan could threaten the chances of political stability. Interviewed by Jon Snow, Karzai admits he’s emotional – but not erratic.

Hamid Karzai on international forces in Afghanistan

“The civilian casualty issue is extremely important to the Afghan people. This has been the foundation of tension we have with our allies and unfortunately continues to take place.

“As for the surge, if the surge can address the subject of violence in Afghanistan effectively, the Afghan people are for it.

“If the surge can address the arrival of terrorists into Afghanistan people are for it. But if the surge also means an increase in civilian casualties and trouble for households then the Afghan people are definitely not for it.

“We have been at friction for some time (with our allies). We are in a continuous process of negotiations and evaluations.

“We the Afghan people are fully cooperative with our allies in the war on terror wherever it occurs. We the Afghan people would like military operations to scale down in the Afghan villages because that’s not where you defeat terrorism.”

Read more: Hamid Karzai warns the west should stay out of Libya

Hamid Karzai on talking to the Taliban

“We are directly in talks with some of the Taliban, as a Government.

“At the same time there are contacts by our international partners – the effort is to put all the contacts together and be well informed about them at all levels.

“There are contacts (between the British and Americans) with the Taliban.”

Read more: Afghanistan - taking on the Taliban.

Hamid Karzai on Pakistan

“I see (violence) increasing in Pakistan – I hope it will not spiral out of control.

“Pakistan’s stability is vital to the region and regional stability. Peace in Afghanistan hinges in a dramatic way on success and stability in Pakistan.”

Hamid Karzai denies corruption in Afghanistan (Reuters)

Hamid Karzai on corruption

“There has been a lot of talk of corruption in Afghanistan in the western media – much exaggerated.

“The Kabul Bank is a corrupt case sure, but so are the banks in America and the UK.

“The allegations against my brother are totally wrong and politically motivated I believe.

“On the money that comes from the international community to Afghanistan and the part of the money that is spent through the Afghan Government, the Afghan Government will give you an account of every penny spent.”

Hamid Karzai on Wikileaks cables describing him as erratic, emotional and prone to irrational conspiracy theories

“Emotional yes, erratic no.

“We are a nation which has gone through so much suffering, that has gone through so much intervention and invasion.

“So fearful of wrongdoing by someone around us yes, naturally we’d be fools if we didn’t look around with suspicion.”