Monday, June 06, 2005

You and President programme in Kabul

Few of you will want to read through all of this, but there are some interesting
things about it. Note the language shifts, the female presenter, and the kinds
of issues that are raised with the president. That such a program goes on in a
part of the world where this kind of open dialogue has long been impossible
indicates something of the changes taking place. But of course, as you will
easily see, much remains the same... RLC

Subject: You and President programme
Date: Jun 4, 2005

Part one: You and President programme
Radio Afghanistan (in Dari and Pashto)
June 3, 2005 1330 gmt
Kabul, Afghanistan

[Female presenter in Pashto] Dear listeners, peace be upon you. My
colleague, Lotfollah Rashid, and I, Nafisa Latifi, are at your
service to present you the You and President Programme of this week.
We hope you will stay with us until the end of the programme.

[Male presenter in Dari] Esteemed Karzai has answered the questions
of a number the residents of Kabul this week. We draw your attention
to these questions and answers.

Esteemed Karzai's latest visit to the United State of America and the
signing of the strategic partnership between Afghanistan and America
were the topic of discussions among the people as well as on the
Afghan and foreign media. The first question of this week is also
about this issue. Let's listen together.

[A man in Dari] Mr Karzai, peace and blessings be upon you. May name
is Mohammad Arif Ebrat, head of a charity organization. My question
is that when you were in America, the Afghan mass media reported that
one of the provisions in the agreement was granting freedom of action
to the American forces in Afghanistan. However, after your return,
you told a news conference that these operations would be coordinated
with you [Afghan government]. Can you clarify this?

[Male presenter in Dari] The second question is on the same issue.
Let's listen to it and then to the answer to both of the questions.

[A man in Dari] Mr Karzai, peace and blessing be upon you. My name is
Fahim, a citizen of the city of Kabul. You seemed very happy at a
news conference on your return from America. We wish you happiness,
but we are anxious to know the reason behind your happiness. For
instance, is there anything in the agreement that has made you happy?

[Hamed Karzai in Dari] In the name of God, the Merciful, the
Compassionate. Dear brother Mohammad Aref Ebrat, may peace and
blessings of God be upon you. You asked a very important question.
The reason we ask for long-term cooperation with America and other
countries, particularly America, Europe and the United Nations, as we
have made it clear several times in the past also, is that
Afghanistan is at a very sensitive stage and is moving towards
stability and a better system. This is not possible without the
cooperation of the international community.

Luckily, we achieved what we expected from our visit. We agreed and
signed a joint declaration. This declaration has a provision with
regard to the freedom of actions of the forces of the United States
of America
and the coalition forces. I am reading the sentence in the
joint declaration. This declaration has been published in press and
magazines. Please read it and then you can ask questions on any point
of it. In the third page of the joint declaration it says: The US and
coalition forces will have the freedom of action on the basis of
consultation and agreed regulations. This means that they should
consult our representatives and after agreements, they can carry out
operations. This was our wish which has been accomplished. For this
purpose, joint delegations comprising officials from the Afghan
Defence Ministry, US Defence Department, Afghan and US security
organs as well as the coalition forces, will be formed. They will
discuss all issues pertaining operations in detail in order to make
regulation, reach mutual agreement and then carry out operations.

With regard to the question of our brother, Fahim Khan, who said that
I seemed very happy during my news conference after returning from
America. Yes, I was very happy indeed, and I have reason to be happy.
When we visited America and whenever we visit any country, we see the
Afghan flag being hoisted on their government buildings during our
visits. We see Afghanistan's flag being hoisted on their parliament
buildings and other places. This is what makes us happy. It is an
issue of protocol. Every country has to do this when a president or
prime minister of that country visits a host country. The reason for
my happiness this time was that when we went from Washington to
another American state, called Nebraska, some 3,000 or 3,500 km away,
and then from the capital of Nebraska we went to an agricultural
area, a village where about 3,000 people lived, I saw the people were
holding Afghanistan's flags on the way to that district. People
including, children, women, elderly people and young people, were
holding and waving Afghanistan's flag. Some of them were standing in
groups in front of their houses and some were standing on the roofs
of their houses. The fact that Afghanistan was known in a remote
village there and the villagers holding Afghan flags made us very

You also asked question about other issues in the agreement. I was
happy about the agreement as well. We achieved what we wanted. For
instance, we reached an agreement about military operations that
there should be mutual agreement about operations between us and the
coalition forces. We agreed on the issue of our prisoners. The
agreement says that [Afghan] prisoners will be handed our to
Afghanistan when Afghanistan improves its prison systems. We will
definitely do this to get our prisoners back. Other major issues have
been included in this joint declaration which will improve the
situation in Afghanistan.

I will read some of the points to you. In the first page of the
declaration it says: This partnership should strengthen peaceful and
fruitful relations between Afghanistan and its neighbours. This
strategic cooperation is not against any third country.

In another section, it states: This cooperation is a basis for our
joint efforts to coordinate the fight against international terrorism
and extremists' violence, to promote stability and prosperity in the
region and to remain steadfast in supporting Afghanistan to
annihilate narcotics.

In another section, it says: This cooperation is based on both
countries' constitutions and their commitments towards the UN charter
and conventions and other international agreements.

In another section, it states: Afghanistan's historical role as a
bridge between Central Asia and South Asia should be revived to turn
regional rivalry into economic and political cooperation.

In another section, it says: Cooperation between Afghanistan and its
neighbours should be improved and interference in the internal
affairs of Afghanistan should be prevented. This issue is of
significant importance to us because Afghanistan has been destroyed
by foreign interference. Our houses were destroyed and our people
were martyred over the last 30 years. So in this declaration,
commitment has been made to help protect Afghanistan against foreign
interference and make it a strong country that stands on its own feet
in the region, so that it can live in cooperation and understanding
with its neighbours.

There are several other issues in the declaration which are of
importance to us. This declaration has been published. Please find it
and read it and then ask questions if you have any.

Part Two: You and President programme
Radio Afghanistan (in Dari and Pashto)
June 3, 2005 1330 gmt
Kabul, Afghanistan

Afghan President Hamed Karzai has said that the killing of a religious scholar
in Kandaharand the subsequent suicide bomb attack during a ceremony to honour
his memory were part ofa Taleban plan to "create greater chaos and tension", and
they were partially successfulin achieving this. However, he believes this
violence is a sign of their weakness andfailure and predicts that if the Afghan
people are vigilant, the parliamentary electionwill pass off peacefully.
Speaking during a question and answer programme on Afghan Radio,he also stressed
the grand assembly he held before going to the USA was purelyconsultative, and
any treaty will have to be approved by parliament. The following is thetext of
part two of the You and the President programme aired on Radio Afghanistan on
3June, subheadings inserted editorially:

[Female presenter in Pashto] The forthcoming parliamentary elections, the
securitysituation and how the parliamentary election process is going is one of
the issues ofconcern for our countrymen. One of this week's questions concerns
this issue. Let's listentogether.


[Male in Dari] My name is Abdolghafur, from Laghman Province. My question is
about theparliamentary elections. Has the government taken any measures
regarding the parliamentaryelections so that they can be held in a peaceful

[Hamed Karzai in Dari] Dear brother, Abdolghafur Khan. Yes, we have made
specialarrangements for the parliamentary election. Luckily, more than 6,000 of
our sisters andbrothers have registered as candidates for the national assembly
and for provincial anddistrict councils. God willing, our elections will be held
in the best way possible.Special measures have been taken for this purpose.

The enemies of Afghanistan and terrorists will try to harm us to create
terror, but justas they failed during the presidential election, they will fail
during the parliamentaryelection as well. The people of Afghanistan will hold
elections and will appointrespectable representatives to the assembly. In this
way, Afghanistan will accomplish thefinal stage of creating its national
institutions. Consequently, Afghanistan will have anindependent system and will
advance towards a better and more stable future.

Need for vigilance

However, I must tell you that in the coming three months, ahead of the
elections, all thepeople of Afghanistan must remain very vigilant. All Afghan
people should be vigilant andcareful. We must not allow the enemies of
Afghanistan to harm our children, our mosques,our religious scholars or our
school students. They will do their best to harm us duringthese three months
because it will be their final effort. They know that the parliamentaryelections
will completely remove them from the scene. Therefore, we must be very
careful.If we see anything suspicious and we feel they are planting a bomb or
want to attack, wemust immediately inform the police or other authorities to
prevent such incidents. We mustbe watchful.

Kandahar attacks sign of "failure and weakness"

They are failures, and their latest activities show signs of their failure and
weakness.Yesterday, or the day before yesterday, we saw that those who serve
others in the name ofthe Taleban and who operate against their country, or bring
in foreigners to destroy theircountry, killed a very prominent religious
scholar, Mawlawi Fayaz. He came from apatriotic family of Afghanistan. They had
an objective behind this attack and thatobjective was to deprive Afghanistan of
such a personality.

Also, it was natural that the governor of Kandahar and elders of Kandahar
tribes wouldparticipate in the mourning ceremony for Mawlawi Fayaz. They
prepared a foreigner to harmall the elders and leaders of Kandahar. It was a
major plan. They wanted to create greaterchaos and tension in the country. They
succeeded to some extent in their plan. Theymartyred Mawlawi Fayaz, and then
martyred the security commander of Kabul, Gen Akram. Iknew him from the times of
jihad. He was one of the best mojahed. He was a close colleagueof mine during
the resistance against the Taleban. May God bless him and may the Almightygrant
patience to his family.

But these people do not know that their actions reveal their non-Islamic face,
their cruelface, and their violence against the poor Muslim people of
Afghanistan, against religionand the mosque. Their action was for the sake of
strangers, to destroy Afghanistan and toprevent Afghanistan from standing on its
own feet so that foreigners and strangers cancome and rule and oppress our
people again. God willing, they will fail. Signs of theirfailures are clear.
Since they cannot do anything else, they have started killing people,which is a
sign of their failure.

Consultative meeting and ties with USA

[Male presenter in Dari] Recently, the Afghan state summoned a council of
elders andleaders of the country in the capital to ascertain the people's view
regarding thecontinuing presence of foreign troops. Some people have expressed
disagreement with thisand have said that those who took part in this council
were not real representatives ofthe people.

Mr Khalid Shenwari, the third person with a question on today's programme, has
asked MrKarzai about this issue.

[Male in Pashto] My name is Khalid Shenwari, and I am speaking from Jalalabad
[capital ofeastern Nangarhar Province]. My question for Mr Karzai is that he
summoned representativesof the Loya Jerga from all parts of Afghanistan to
decide on whether we should have USforces in Afghanistan and on allowing them
permanent bases. My question is thatrepresentatives of the Constitutional Loya
Jerga only had the authority to adopt theconstitution, and they were not
authorized to decide on any other important issues. Thisissue requires another
Loya Jerga. Will the decision of these representatives have anylegal basis?

[Hamed Karzai in Pashto] Dear brother Khalid Shenwari, peace and the blessings
of God be upon you. The grand gathering of Afghans that I summoned before my
visit to the USA was for consultation with the Afghan nation on an important
national issue. You are right, it was not a decision-making gathering, but rather
a consultative gathering. I just wanted to know the opinion of the people. Prior
to that, I had discussed this issue with people who came from the provinces and
had sought their views. But I had not held a gathering which would include all
provinces, Loya Jerga representatives, tribal leaders and elders. So Iwanted to
get a clear picture of the opinion of all Afghan people as to whether we
needsuch cooperation with America or not. If we need it, I should go and talk to
them, and ifit is not needed, than I should not raise this issue.

When the gathering was held, most elders and leaders said, yes, Afghanistan
needs to have such cooperation with the world, and particularly with American.
But they said that if this cooperation should take the form of an agreement, it
should be left to parliament to endorse it. Our constitution also stipulates
this. So I discussed this with the US government, and we issued a joint
declaration on strategic cooperation between our two countries, which means
permanent economic, security and political cooperation. Different Afghan and
American commissions will further improve on this. They will evaluate it
and, when they reach an agreement, it will be presented to parliament. Parliament
will either accept it or amend it.

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