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Condoleezza Rice Interview by Radio Azadi

Interview by M. Amin Midaqiq of Radio Azadi

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Kabul, Afghanistan
June 28, 2006

QUESTION: Thank you for giving us time forthe exclusive interview. This is, in fact, the second interview you gave us. It's very kindness of you. I will be short in my questions.

So the main important topics in the media these days is with the Afghans in general and President Karzai in particular, complaints that the roots of terrorism are outside Afghanistan; unless you fight them outside the country, it's not going to give result by fighting it inside the country. As he said yesterday clearly, going house to house in Kandahar will not give any result, it's proved. So he was referring that we are asking the international community to help us in fighting the roots of terrorism outside the country but we are not getting that cooperation.

Now, keeping in view that Pakistan is a strategic ally -- he is, of course, referring to Pakistan. As Pakistan is a strategic ally of the United States on one hand, on other hand and the U.S. forces are in Afghanistan, clearly terrorists are crossing the border here and killing the American troops and Afghan troops and affecting your mission here in Afghanistan.

How is the United States going to deal with this situation?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, of course we have to fight terrorists wherever we find them and there are terrorists in Afghanistan, there are terrorists in Pakistan, there are terrorists in the far reaches of the world. What we've learned about this al-Qaida network, and indeed their connections to the Taliban, is that they have a kind of global reach. And that's why we're fighting them in so many different places.

Pakistan is fighting. They've been fighting in Waziristan with Pakistani forces. The Pakistanis have moved 10,000 more forces to the border. It's a long border. It's a difficult border. But of course we believe that everybody needs to do more and we need to continue to adapt our tactics as the enemy changes. But I had very good discussions with President Karzai today and I think we agree that we have a good common strategy. The International Security Assistance Forces and the NATO forces that are moving into the south, as well as the American forces which are going to stay in Afghanistan and remain committed to Afghanistan, are really engaging the enemy and having very great success against them.

We always knew that the Taliban would be determined to try to continue to bring death and destruction to Afghanistan, just as it did when it was governing, ruling in Afghanistan. But they're not going to succeed. Afghan security forces are getting stronger. Police forces are getting stronger. The President talked to me about the need to accelerate the building of the Afghan police forces.

So we have many tools that we can use. We, Afghanistan, Pakistan, all the other allies in the war on terrorism, have a lot in common here, which is we have a common enemy and we have to do everything we can to defeat that enemy.

QUESTION: There is one thing that the Afghans of this country and that we say that we do not trust what the Pakistani Government says that they are fighting terrorists. There are madrassas in Quetta, open religious schools and hundreds of students are there and they are getting training. These students are sent -- not ordinary people, only those students who are studying in the religious madrassas. And also the coalition also confirmed that the Talibans are crossing the border on broad daylight while, you know, the -- and (inaudible) that they are crossing just close to the Pakistani security force. How can you solve this misunderstanding?

SECRETARY RICE: First, let's remember these are difficult borders and in some places they're mountainous borders, in some places they're very long borders, and how to stop people from crossing the border is a longtime problem in this region.

Now, we are indeed sharing information. We have a trilateral mechanism between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States that is sharing information and sharing how to solve this problem. But I am quite sure that Pakistan and Afghanistan have a lot at stake, both of them, in the defeat of these terrorists and we're going to continue to work very, very hard. We're going to continue to engage the terrorists and to use our military forces as well as to have Afghan forces, which are getting stronger, engage them. And the Pakistanis will do their part, I am quite certain, on the other side of the border.

QUESTION: During your visit to Pakistan just yesterday, media quoted you as saying that you asked the Pakistani -- or you call him the Pakistani officials -- to work better with the Afghan Government in Kabul. Does the word "better" mean that you said, you know, in a stronger voice this time?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, "better" is something I would say to the Afghan Government, to the Pakistani Government and indeed to the U.S. Government. We all need to do better because, to the degree that there is still insecurity in the country, to the degree that the Afghan people are not enjoying the benefits of security, we all need to take a look at what we're doing and to do better. And that's really what I meant.

I think we are all committed. What the Afghan people need to know is that America is committed to Afghanistan's future and will be committed. We are not leaving. We are not leaving again, as we did in the 1980s. This time our strategic relationship is strong and it is going to be a long-term relationship.

QUESTION: Even if the government change from Republican to Democrat?

SECRETARY RICE: (Laughter.) The American people are committed to Afghanistan. You have to remember that America suffered on 9/11 because we had not stayed committed to Afghanistan, and so I think you can count on the commitment of the American people, whoever is in office.

Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. 2006/T17-4

Released on June 28, 2006


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