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Foreign Correspondence: Kathy Gannon Interviews Hamid Karzai

Associated Press reporter Kathy Gannon interviews Afghanistan's new leader, Hamid Karzai.

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  • HAMID KARZAI:

    I am absolutely determined that we will fight terrorism and I am absolutely sure and so are my friends and the cabinet and the people from Afghanistan that there's no way, absolutely no way, that we can allow Afghanistan to be made the home of terrorism or be used for terrorism anymore. We'll finish them, the terrorists, inside Afghanistan and we will also cooperate with the international community to finish them elsewhere.

  • KATHY GANNON:

    Do you believe that they are moving in the right direction? Do you believe Osama bin Laden is still in Afghanistan? Do you believe that Mullah Omar is still inside Afghanistan?

  • HAMID KARZAI:

    Probably Mullah Omar is still inside Afghanistan. I keep receiving reports that he may still be somewhere around southwestern parts of the country. I have asked people to look for him and they are looking for him. I almost… You know, two or three times I have received a call from the Southwest indicating that Mullah Omar may be here or there. We will look for him and if we find where he is, we definitely arrest him — very much definitely arrest him. With regards to Osama bin Laden, I don't know where he is. We receive reports now and then that he may be here or there, and if we get a detailed report about his whereabouts, we will certainly go after him too and arrest him.

  • KATHY GANNON:

    Before September 11 when the Taliban were still in full power, the western intelligence… The feeling was that they were as many as 12,000 foreign fighters here. 5,000-6,000 from Arab countries, maybe 2,000 from Chechnya and Uzbekistan, 4,000 Pakistanis. That's a lot of people. Do you believe that there are still a large number of them in Afghanistan?

  • HAMID KARZAI:

    Well, I don't know how many there are. Some of them have run away. Some of them have run away from Afghanistan. Smugglers and other people that have compromised Afghanistan's interests, they made them go away from Afghanistan. They fled. Some people are still here, but I don't think they are in large numbers. I think that terrorism is largely defeated in Afghanistan, that the Taliban have completely vanished as a political and military force, but there are remnants in the form of individuals or small groups. Those should be looked for and arrested and put to trial.

    KATHY GANNON Do you feel they feel the ordinary Afghans and the people that are meeting you, that they feel that's necessary that international forces be here in Afghanistan to ensure the peace, given the history?

  • HAMID KARZAI:

    They want guarantees from the international community for peace in Afghanistan. They think the international community has not been fair to Afghanistan in the past — that this nation deserves more — that there has been a lot of interference. And they see the presence of UN forces as a guarantee against interference, as a guarantee for the commitment of the international community, of the big powers, of the United States, and as a guarantee internally within Afghanistan that they will be given a sense of security. So that's, all those concerns are legitimate and we support that.