Hamid Karzai cries for son`s future
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 18:34
Kabul: Afghan President Hamid Karzai burst into tears on Tuesday while delivering a speech on the problems facing his country, saying he feared the war might force his young son to leave his homeland.

"I don't want my son Mirwais to become alienated, I don't want that," Karzai said while marking national literacy day.

"I want him to go to school here, I swear to God I'm worried, I'm worried, oh people, I'm worried. God forbid Mirwais should be forced to leave Afghanistan," he said, referring to his three-year-old son, an only child.

His speech at a Kabul high school was broadcast live on national television and aimed to promote education in a country where up to 80 per cent of the population is believed to be illiterate.

Veiled women and government officials were shown on television wiping tears from their eyes while listening to Karzai.

He highlighted the plight of the war-torn country, mired in conflict with Taliban-led insurgents for almost nine years, and its impact on children.

"Our kids can't go to school for fear of the explosions, suicide bombs and bombardments," he said, referring to Taliban attacks and NATO air strikes against insurgents that can kill and injure civilians.

"Anyone who is Afghan must (work to) bring peace to this land. I won't want my child to become a foreigner. I want him to go to school in Kabul, in Afghanistan... to grow up here, become a doctor here," Karzai said.

The speech came days after Karzai's office condemned as "highly inflammatory" claims in "Obama's Wars", a new book by legendary US journalist Bob Woodward, that he is being treated for manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder.

"People, wake up! See what's going on in our land," said Karzai today, calling on Afghans to take part in rebuilding the country, which has been at war for more than 30 years.

"This land cannot gain dignity by efforts other than by Afghans," he said.

The US-backed leader renewed his call on Taliban insurgents to give up their violent campaign against his administration.

"I call on the Taliban again," he said. "Compatriots! Don't destroy your land for the benefit of others. Don't kill your people for the benefit of others. Embrace peace," he said.

The Taliban have so far spurned Karzai's overtures towards peace, intensifying the fight they launched after the 2001 US-led invasion toppled them from power.


First Published: Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 18:34

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