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President Karzai Discusses Key Successes and Challenges in Radio Interview

President Hamid Karzai discussed the key successes and challenges in Afghanistan during a wide-ranging interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on July 12, 2008.

When asked whether he was satisfied with the progress made in the last seven years, President Karzai expressed optimism while admitting to significant remaining shortfalls, especially in security. "I am very happy that once again Afghanistan has become a home to all of the Afghans. And Afghans of all stripes can return and live in this home. I'm very happy that the people of Afghanistan have created their own new constitution. And the foundations for the new institutions have been laid," he stated. "Despite all of these successes, we still haven't achieved what Afghans desire most, which is establishing security across the country. We have had successes against terrorism. But our struggle against terrorism is not over yet."

President Karzai also spoke of maintaining the country's current path, regardless of challenges or foreign interference. "We have to continue to reach our destiny. Our destiny is to try and take Afghanistan to a point where it stands equal to other countries that are self-sufficient and live with dignity and honor. We will not leave this path. And I have no doubt that we will complete this journey. We will suffer and endure casualties and pain. But we must endure all of this and continue moving," he stated.

Expanding on the issue of foreign interference, President Karzai explained that while Afghanistan maintains close relations with the civilian government in Pakistan, tensions remain over the role of the Pakistani military and intelligence service in Afghanistan. "We have very good friendly relations with the new, democratically elected government in Pakistan. We always had very good, friendly relations with the Pakistani people," he said. "But in the meantime, there are people inside Pakistan -- in Pakistan's intelligence services and its military -- who for whatever reason do not want a stable and prosperous Afghanistan that has good, friendly relations with its neighbors. I hope that the current administration in Pakistan -- its respected prime minister -- are able to control these elements so that both countries can be at peace."

Asked what he thought Afghanistan needed to move forward, President Karzai cited the need for effective institutions, development and education. "[T]his land needs development. And it is only possible through patriotism and by engaging in effective measures. So the secret of our development lies in creating and strengthening our national institutions and rebuilding our economy. And by also engaging in human development -- by promoting education and health care, and the welfare of our future generations."

To see the full transcript of the interview with President Karzai, click here.


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