July 20, 2008

Afghan Presidential Aide Comments on Obama’s Criticism of Karzai

Excerpt from report by privately-owned Afghan Aina TV on 20 July

[Presenter] Homayun Hamidzada, spokesman for the president, described [Barack] Obama's recent criticism of President Karzai as an accurate comment, but said that the Afghan government had been hearing such comments over the past many years.

Obama arrived in Kabul on Friday [18 July, as heard]. He had a meeting with President Karzai and a number of senior government officials. He stressed elimination of terrorism in Afghanistan and trilateral cooperation among Pakistan, Afghanistan and the USA.

[Correspondent] Barack Obama, a candidate of the Democrats Party of the USA in the upcoming presidential election, and a number of other US senators arrived in Kabul on Friday for the first time. In addition to Hamed Karzai, he met a number of government officials. Obama's meeting with President Karzai lasted one hour and 45 minutes. Though he stressed USA's further cooperation with Afghanistan, he said that one of the important ways to overcome problems in the war on terror in Afghanistan is to hold trilateral meetings among officials of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the USA.

[Homayun Hamidzada] Both Afghanistan and America believe that close bilateral cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan and trilateral cooperation involving America can present solutions to problems facing Afghanistan, Pakistan, the region and finally the USA.

[Correspondent] Homayun Hamidzada, spokesman for President Karzai, said that Obama's recent criticism was a political comment and the Afghan government has been hearing such comments for many years.

[Homayun Hamidzada] It was a realistic comment. He said that the Afghan society, in particular the Afghan government, had used most of its energy, time and possibilities in the fight against terrorism. This is true. Unfortunately, we have to spend most of our time, power and limited possibility in the fight against terrorism.

[Passage omitted: Known details about Obama's call for withdrawal of the US forces from Iraq and deployment of more troops in Afghanistan]

Originally published by Aina TV, Kabul, in Dari 1430 20 Jul 08.

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