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
"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
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
"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
"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
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.