Biden warns Afghanistan `will fail` if Karzai doesn`t step up

US Vice President Joseph Biden on Tuesday warned that if Afghan President Hamid Karzai does not step up at this juncture and take responsibility of his country, Afghanistan "will fail."

Last Updated: Sep 28, 2010, 16:45 PM IST

Washington: US Vice President Joseph Biden
on Tuesday warned that if Afghan President Hamid Karzai does not
step up at this juncture and take responsibility of his
country, Afghanistan "will fail."

"The fact of the matter is that, whether it`s corruption
or whether it`s training of Afghan security forces or
integration of and reconciliation with the Taliban, President
Karzai is in the position now that, faced with an incredibly
difficult circumstance, I believe that he is fully capable of
stepping up to the plate and acting responsibly," Biden told
MSNBC in response to a question.
"It`s a very difficult position he`s in. But he must step
up to the plate. We must train an Afghan national security
force and he must take ownership of it," the Vice President
said.

Karzai must deal with the most virulent types of
corruption which cause populations, villages and provinces to
turn to the Taliban for justice instead of corrupt officials,
Biden said. "And he must deal with the larger pieces of
corruption that exist within his society."

"Some of it is changes we have to make. We`re making
changes in contracting authority. General (David) Petraeus
(the top US commander in Afghanistan) has set forward billions
of dollars rolling into that country, in a country that was
the fourth poorest in the world and one that didn`t have much
infrastructure.

"And so we`re making changes as well to make it easier to
deal with that problem. But Hamid Karzai must step up to the
ball. I think he`s capable of it. If he doesn`t, his country
will fail. If he does, it can succeed," Biden said.

Responding to a question, the Vice President agreed with
the assessment of President Barack Obama that the US has
emerged stronger after 9/11.
"It made us stronger by demonstrating to the entire world
there`s nothing, nothing, nothing that can shake our
conviction of everyone under the Constitution have equal
rights. We have not gone underground. We have not turned to
repressive measures. We are the same open, strong, vibrant
society that the rest of the world wants to emulate," Biden
argued.

"So that`s the reason they took the shot at us... to try
to prove to the world that we weren`t who we advertised
ourselves to be. And we are. And the rest of the world has
looked at that, and they looked at the election of Barack
Obama and seeing that the American people mean what they say.
We do think all people are created equal," he said.

"The rest of the world and the Islamic world is figuring
out we have mosques in Los Angeles bigger than mosques in most
countries in the Arab world. We are a society that reaches
out, embraces people, and, in fact, is stronger because of
it," Biden said.

Terrorists tried to deal the US a body blow and it was
horrible for the 3,000 people who lost loved ones, he said,
referring to the 9/11 attacks.

"But the fact of the matter is, in terms of our national
stability, our economic power and strength, our military
capacity, it was a glancing blow," Biden said.

PTI