ANC Website Top BANNER 3

February 28, 2003
 
Karzai says he, too, is looking for Osama bin Laden

WASHINGTON - Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Thursday he is not convinced that Osama bin Laden is alive, but he wishes the al-Qaida leader would appear to answer for his actions -- "to God and to mankind."

During a news conference at the National Press Club, Karzai said he doubts the authenticity of recent audiotapes in which someone said to be bin Laden tries to rally Iraqis and expresses a desire to die a martyr.

If bin Laden has more to say, Karzai said, he should do so on videotape.

"If he is alive, then he must show up and have a video for us to watch," Karzai said. "If he can send an audiotape, he can also send a videotape. They are almost the same size. ... That would be, for us, an indication that he is alive."

U.S. intelligence officials are almost certain the voice on the tape belongs to bin Laden.

Karzai's assessment also contradicted that offered Monday by his foreign minister, Abdullah, who said he believes bin Laden and Mullah Mohammed Omar, former leader of the Taliban movement, may be hiding in the mountains along the border with Pakistan. Abdullah was seated beside Karzai as he spoke Thursday, and did not react to Karzai's remarks.
 

The Afghan president said bin Laden was a ruthless exploiter of poor Muslims and the perpetrator of "unbelievable brutality" against Afghans. "And then he went beyond that to attack humanity all over, in America and in the Islamic world," Karzai said.

"I'm looking for him, to find him," he said. "Why would he go around and keep killing people? He has lots to answer, to God and to mankind."

Karzai spoke after meeting at the White House with President Bush, who offered no public assurances that a war with Iraq would not hinder the Afghan recovery. Karzai said the effects of such a war on the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan did not come up: "It was not on our agenda, no."
 
Afghan President At Arlington National Cemetery
Standing amid falling snow, Afghan President Hamid Karzai (L) speaks with U.S. Major
General. James T Jackson (R) at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington,
February 27, 2003. Karzai met with U.S. President George W. Bush earlier in the day.
 

Afghan President At Arlington National Cemetery PHOTO
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai (c) lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in
Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, February 27, 2003.
Krzai is accompanied by Major General James T. Jackson (r).

Afghan President At Arlington National Cemetery PHOTO
3. Afghan President Hamid Karzai places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington 
National Cemetery, Thusrday, Feb. 27, 2003, in Arlington, Va. Karzai said Thursday he is 
not convinced that Osama bin Laden is alive, but he wishes the al-Qaida leader would

appear in person and answer a question: "What the hell has he been up to?"
 

Afghan President At Arlington National Cemetery PHOTO
Interim Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, walks with Major General. James T.
Jackson, right, to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National
Cemetery, Thusrday, February 27, 2003, in Arlington, Virginia.
 

Afghan President At Arlington National Cemetery PHTOO
5. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, center, with Maj. Gen. James T. Jackson,
on right, has moment of silence after placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown
Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery, Thusrday, February 27, 2003, in Arlington, Virginia
 

Posted: 1 March 2003