below, from CNN....
KARZAI ON REACHING OUT TO THE TALIBAN
KING: FORMER AFGHAN LEADER RABBANI HAS BEEN SELECTED TO HEAD A PEACE COUNCIL TO NEGOTIATE WITH THE TALIBAN. THE OBVIOUS QUESTION IS WHY ARE YOU REACHING OUT TO THE TALIBAN AND IS THAT NOT AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT THAT THE TALIBAN CANNOT BE DEFEATED MILITARILY?
KARZAI: The Taliban, those of whom who are Afghans and the sons of Afghans soil who have been driven to violence by various factors beyond their control and beyond ours caused by circumstances in Afghanistan, we want them to come back to their country. They are like kids who have run away and... away from the family. The family should try to bring them back and give them better discipline and incorporate them back into their family and the society. President Rabbani assuming chairmanship today of the peace council is exactly in that spirit. But those who are a part of Al Qaeda and the other terrorist networks who are ideologically against us or who are working against Afghanistan knowingly and out of the purpose of hatred and enmity - those of course we have to work against. Whether they are against Afghanistan or whether they are Al Qaeda and the terrorist war against the United States or our neighbors in Pakistan, those of course cannot be accepted.
KARZAI ON TALKS / NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE TALIBAN
KING: THE WASHINGTON POST IS SAYING, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT THERE ARE SECRET HIGH LEVEL TALKS OVER NEGOTIATIONS TO END THE WAR BETWEEN YOUR GOVERNMENT AND THE TALIBAN ALREADY UNDER WAY. HOW DO YOU RESPOND?
KARZAI: We have been talking to the Taliban as countryman to countryman, talk in that manner. Not as a regular official contact with the Taliban with a fixed address but rather unofficial personal contacts have been going on for quite some time. Now that the peace council has come into existence, these talks will go on and will go on officially and more rigorously I hope. There has also been the peace and stability council that has been working under the chairman of our senate... President [inaudible] that has been apart of talks as well. But no official contacts with a known entity that reports to a body of Taliban and that comes back and reports to us regularly. That hasn't happened yet and we hope we can begin that as soon as possible. But contacts of course have been there between various elements of the Afghan government at the level of community and also at a political level.
KARZAI ON MANIC DEPRESSION
KING: IN HIS RECENT BOOK, "OBAMA'S WARS" BOB WOODWARD SAYS THAT YOU WERE DIAGNOSED AS A MANIC DEPRESSIVE. HE WRITES THAT SENSITIVE INTELLEGENCE REPORTS ON YOU CLAIM YOU ARE SOMETIMES DELUSIONAL; SOMETIMES DON'T TAKE YOUR MEDICATIONS. IS THAT TRUE? ARE YOU A MANIC DEPRESSIVE? DO YOU TAKE MEDICATION FOR IT? HAD TO BE ASKED...
KARZAI: The only medication that I have taken, is an antibiotic called Augmentin - the strongest ones I have taken when I had a bad cold two years ago. And I from time to time take multivitamins and vitamin C and of course a popular medicine in the US, Tylenol is something I use from time to time when I have a headache or when I'm tired.
KING: WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THE STORIES THEN ABOUT YOUR BEING A MANIC DEPRESSIVE? WHICH IS BY THE WAY IS A COMMON DISEASE, MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD HAVE IT AND BEING DELUSIONAL - WHERE DOES THAT COME FROM?
KARZAI: Like all other stories
KING: NOT TRUE?
KARZAI: Oh definitely not. Rather funny.
KARZAI ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA / THE UNITED STATES
KING: PRESIDENT OBAMA AS WE KNOW IS GOING TO DRAW DOWN UNITED STATES TROOPS IN YOUR COUNTRY NEXT SUMMER. WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM AND ARE YOU WORRIED THAT THE UNITED STATES MIGHT ABANDON YOU?
KARZAI: This is a very important question. Relations with the President Obama are very good. We have regular contact. We just had a video conference about five days ago. The relation with the US government is generally good. There is a strategic relationship between us. Partnerships towards an objective - that's security for us and security for the United States and the rest of the world. On the staying power of the United States in Afghanistan; the Afghan people have been abandoned before when we fought the Soviets. When we defeated communism and the Soviets the international community supported us but then after their defeat we were abandoned and forgotten immediately including by the United States. Now that fear lingers on in the Afghan people. Something that I have not been able to reassure the Afghan people and I hope the United States of America and our other allies will help us through good means so we can reassure the Afghan people that this partnership is staying and that Afghanistan will emerge out of this current transition into a better country, a better economy and a more stronger, effective state.
# # #