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Karzai envisions Afghanistan free from terror

Hamid Karzai and his government will lead Afghanistan for six months.
Hamid Karzai and his government will lead Afghanistan for six months.  


KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The chairman of Afghanistan's new interim government is pledging to rid his country of terrorism.

In a wide-ranging interview Sunday with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Chairman Hamid Karzai vowed: "We will see to it that terrorism is finished in Afghanistan in all its forms."

The interim government is committed to tracking down both al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, Karzai said.

Both bin Laden and Omar would face charges in Afghanistan, but the interim government would also be willing to hand them over to an international court or to the United States.

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"He has no protection whatsoever," Karzai said of Omar.

The interim Afghan leader said his country was grateful to the United States and its allies for helping to push the Taliban from power.

The U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan was "very, very valuable," Karzai said, adding that U.S. forces are welcome to stay in Afghanistan, as long as there are terrorist elements to be rooted out.

Karzai also welcomed the presence of a British-led international security force, which began its deployment last week.

"They should be here with us for as long as it takes," he said. Afghanistan is also working to put its own security force in place.

Karzai was inaugurated Saturday, along with a 29-member Cabinet. The administration is to be in power for six months, preparing the way for a provisional government that will rule for 18 months. After that time, Afghanistan will hold democratic elections to choose new leadership.

The interim government includes two female ministers, a highly-symbolic change from the recent past. The Taliban placed tight restrictions on women, including forbidding them to work outside the home.

But Karzai said that Afghanistan's history supports the inclusion of women in government.

"In accordance with Islam and our tradition, they will have their role," he said. "And it will be a significant role."



 
 
 
 



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