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Afghan Leader Hamid Karzai Quotes

January 29, 2002

Comments by Afghan interim prime minister Hamid Karzai in an interview with The Associated Press:

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Afghans want a larger peacekeeping force as a ``guarantee from the international community that Afghanistan will not go back to chaos, that Afghanistan will not go back to disorder, that those bad people will not find a way back into Afghanistan.″

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Of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar: ``He’s difficult to find because nobody knows him, nobody’s seen him. So he can hide, especially if he’s inactive. ... But eventually somebody will lead us to him.″

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``Could you imagine a month and a half ago that that massive terrorist structure would disappear, like that, in Afghanistan in a matter of days? People say that’s impossible, but it happened. ... The government of terrorism is now a fugitive in a month’s time.″

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Of young Afghan-Americans, ``We need their return very much.″

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If tribal leaders at a grand council, or loya jirga, pick him to continue being prime minister later this spring, ``We’d be honored. If they say something else, choose other leadership, we’ll be honored too. And we’ll respect that.″

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Afghanistan will begin to recover ``as soon as we begin to generate internal revenues, as soon as we begin to have customs and taxes and all that ... as soon as the country as a whole begins to produce again, generate wealth, and export. ... Afghanistan has some master businessmen. They will do us well provided we bring them the basic security.″

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Of his visit to Washington and scheduled appearance at President Bush’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday: ``I hope it will build on the partnership that America and Afghans have. I hope that it will add to the friendship.″

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