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Afghanistan Working to End Civilian Casualties, Karzai Says


Presidential profile airs Saturday, 19 May

Washington, D.C., May 18, 2007 – Continuing civilian casualties in the Afghanistan conflict threaten to set the country back and must be prevented, Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai said in an exclusive television interview with the Voice of America (VOA).

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"This is a very serious question. It's something that hurts us a lot," Mr. Karzai said, explaining that Afghanistan's government is working with NATO and coalition forces to end civilian casualities. "We have to find a way."

Airing Saturday, May 19, the profile that emerges from VOA's wide-ranging interview gives a look at Karzai the man as well as Karzai the president. He has a vision for his country, and plans for how to achieve that vision.

"I want to have a country with roads, with health services, with education, like any other country," he told VOA. Women are an important and growing presence in Afghan society. "They are present in parliament, they are present in schools and universities," Mr. Karzai said, adding that, out of the 57,000 students taking the university entrance exam, the top scorer was a young woman from Herat.

Mr. Karzai acknowledged that there is still a lot of work to be done in achieving his vision for Afghanistan, particularly in fighting the drug trade. "We need to take more initiatives and many more steps in this direction in order for us to have something to show to the world as our success."

A Muslim himself, he had harsh words for those who use religion to justify violence. "Those who kill in the name of Islam, those who hurt in the name of Islam, are the enemy of Islam. No doubts about that."

The in-depth profile of President Karzai will air May 19 on TV Ashna, VOA's broadcast to Afghanistan in Dari and Pashto. TV Ashna is heard from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily on National Afghan TV and by satellite on Asiasat Channel 24 and on IOR for Europe on Channel 409. VOA's Radio Ashna also broadcasts 12 hours of Dari and Pashto programming daily on radio.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail publicaffairs@voa.gov.

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