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Amanpour: Karzai wants commitment to Afghanistan

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The designated leader of the interim government of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, plans to leave Kandahar on Wednesday and travel to Kabul to meet with other members of the interim government.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour interviewed Karzai before he left the former Taliban stronghold. She filed this report on Wednesday.

AMANPOUR: The city of Kandahar has been liberated for the last several days and now Hamid Karzai, who has been here since the handover, is scheduled to go this afternoon to Kabul, the capital. He is, we're told, going to be flying aboard a U.S. military aircraft and will be going there to meet with other members who have been appointed to lead this interim government.

The first beginnings of trying to put together a plan for Afghanistan's future democratic and broad-based alliance will start today. Then Hamid Karzai is going off to Rome, where he'll meet with the former Afghan King Zahir Shah, and then he will come back to Kabul for the inauguration on December 22nd of this new interim government.

In the meantime, as I said, he was here. He's been temporarily housed in Mullah Omar's compound. That is the Taliban leader who has now fled. When we interviewed Karzai, of course, there was no electricity. Parts of that compound had been heavily bombed by the U.S. So we interviewed him by gaslight and it was during a meeting he was having to consolidate support with other tribal leaders in this region.

We asked him how he thought the future government would take shape -- would it be stable? Would it bring peace for Afghanistan? And he said both Afghanistan and the United States will make sure that happens because they've both learned a lesson on their own national security.

KARZAI COMMENT FROM TAPED INTERVIEW: The Afghans have learned a mutual lesson; so have the international community; so has the United States. I must be very blunt. If the world does not pay attention to Afghanistan, if it leaves it weak, and basically a country in which one can interfere, all these bad people are coming in. So a strong Afghanistan, a peaceful Afghanistan is the best guarantee for all.

AMANPOUR: Hamid Karzai also said that he felt that the world this time would stick by Afghanistan, and he was confident that there would be a continued pledge of international assistance. He said the top priorities are things as simple as roads for this country, to enable some kind of commerce and economy to flourish again, education, and a health system.

He also vowed that if they caught any senior Taliban leaders or any al Qaeda leaders, they would be brought to justice.


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