Washington, D.C., Dec. 20, 2004 - U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said today, "I speak for President Bush; we will not abandon Afghanistan," in an interview at the Voice of America.
Ambassador Khalilzad made the statement in a joint interview with the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The Ambassador spoke in Dari and English.
He said that when the U.S. previously abandoned Afghanistan, the country became a breeding ground for terrorism that had ill conceived consequences for the whole international community.
Speaking to VOA's Persian-language TV program News and Views, Khalilzad said, "There is now both political and religious freedom in Afghanistan. The people of Iran could learn from Afghanistan. We hope the Iranian people will benefit from the experience of Afghanistan in moving towards democracy. I'm sure that America will not strike Iran but change there will come."
Dr. Khalilzad was named Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Afghanistan by President Bush on Sept. 22, 2003 and sworn in on Nov. 24, 2003 in Washington. He presented his credentials to President Karzai on Nov. 27, 2003.
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 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages, including Dari and English.
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