Excerpts from Afghan President Hamid Karzai's interview with The Washington Post
On his message to the American people as they review the war in Afghanistan:
You are really speaking to a skeptic mind-set here in Afghanistan, that doesn't know whether the international community is here to fight terrorism. And if it is fighting terrorism, do they know that they're making mistakes? Whether the international community is here to free Afghanistan from the troubles that it had and strengthen it, or if it's added to those problems? The message that I have for the American people is, [first], that we know in Afghanistan that America earns money the hard way. That you work hard. I've seen people working in America, that all that you spend there are hard earned, from your younger people to the older people. They wake up early in the morning, they wake up much earlier than us, and go to work, and toil the whole day, shed a lot of sweat before they can earn a dollar. But that dollar spent in Afghanistan doesn't reach the Afghan people the way it should. Second, the intentions that you have in America towards Afghanistan as a people, as a country, is not reflected here in Afghanistan the way it should. It sometimes is reflected in contradiction to what you are thinking as an American people. The security firms, for example, how can you have a country grow a police force if you have created a parallel structure of at least 40,000 men with more money, with more salaries, with less accountability to them, and yet expect us to have a strong and effective police force and one that can provide you and the Afghan people with security.
. . .
Then our elections last year were rigged. An effort was made by our allies, by people in the United States of America, by people in your government, to rig our elections. How can you rig a country's election and yet claim to be supporting democracy, and yet claim to be supporting that country, and yet claim to be building that state?
. . .
It isn't all as it is reflected in your media in America, or propagated by government circles. Our faults, we have our faults, we have too many faults, we are a poor country, we are a highly under-educated country, we have centuries of backwardness to cope with, we have lots of other difficulties of our own, but we are genuinely trying to emerge out of that misery, we are genuinely trying to fight terrorism, we are genuinely trying to be a country that likes to live well with its neighbors and with the rest of the world. We genuinely want to be partners with America for good and for good causes. The way things are moving, we don't seek clarity on these accounts, whether we are treated as equal, let's not talk of equal, whether we're treated respectfully or whether we're seen as 'hell, these third world guys, lets use them and abuse them and confuse them.' That attitude I'd like to end in America, whether it's in the government or whether it's in the media or wherever.
On top of that, I must also express gratitude on behalf of the Afghan people for the taxpayers' money that has come to Afghanistan, for the schools that you have built for us, for the health clinics you have built for us, for the education that you have given to us, for the advancement that we have today, for the roads that you have built for us, we are extremely and highly and permanently grateful and indebted to you for that. And we'd like that to expand, that side of America we'd like to see more.
The American people are well intentioned.
On whether the U.S. government is well intentioned: