Washington, D.C., May 11, 2007 - Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai in an exclusive television interview told the Voice of America (VOA) that Afghanistan is "not a narco-state."
"It is not a narco-state, but it does produce a lot of poppies. There is a difference between being a mafia-dominated, state-run economy - that you can call a narco-state," said Karzai. "A state that fights narcotics, a state that suffers the consequences of that fight, a state that has gone through 30 years of extreme desperation and displacement of its population, will have problems."
Karzai said that better security has led to better government institutions and better performance of the civil services and the police, and that better trade, education, and reconstruction have helped to decrease the reliance on growing poppies.
In the wide ranging interview, President Karzai talked about a number of important topics including his recent trip to Turkey and the security situation in Herat.
VOA TV's in-depth profile covering their day-long visit at the Palace with President Karzai will air on May 19. The profile will discuss his plan for drug eradication; how he is dealing with civilian deaths in Afghanistan; his perspective of being a Muslim; his excellent working relationship with Washington; how he began his career in politics; his love of poetry, especially Tennyson; and what it means to be a father for the first time.
VOA's Afghan Service broadcasts TV Ashna in Dari and Pashto to Afghanistan where it 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. The Service'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 firstname.lastname@example.org.