Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Karzai’s lament

The latest report from Amnesty International, Iran: New government fails to address dire human rights situation.

And I don’t know if any of you caught this blunt interview. The quintessential Afghan dignity touched me:

"We know (interference) is going on. We know that money is being brought into Afghanistan. It will not have the impact that they want it to have — not for Afghanistan and not for themselves — so they had better stop," Karzai said.

"If they don't stop, the consequences will be exactly what I said earlier. The consequences will be that this region will suffer with us, equally, as we suffer. In the past we suffered alone. This time everybody will suffer with us."

Any effort to divide Afghanistan ethnically or weaken it will create exactly the same things in the neighboring countries. All the countries in this neighborhood have the same ethnic groups that we have, so they should know that it is a different ball game this time," he said.

"We are bloody determined. It is not going to be Pakistan playing the Pashtun, non-Pashtun game in Afghanistan. It is not going to be Iran playing this or that game or any other country. We can play the same game with a lot more historical power, with a lot more power in our history than others can. They should know that very well."

"It won't work this time. Afghanistan has an ownership. I told you we will not be refugees again. We own this country. Afghanistan has a voice now," Karzai said.

"The past is gone. We were unaware: The Soviets came, invaded us and we went out of Afghanistan to defend our country. We defended our country and that was right, but we made a mistake by leaving our country. It was one of the biggest mistakes we made, leaving the country."

"The United States, Pakistan, Iran and everybody should know that this time Afghans will not become refugees. I would be one of those Afghans who would not become a refugee again," he said.

"It has to be very, very clear. That is why I am talking so clear. This is my conscience speaking, the conscience of an Afghan person."

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