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Wednesday, 9 January, 2002, 23:47 GMT
Karzai's nationwide address
The Afghan leader is seen as a uniting force
Hamid Karzai delivered his first address to the nation

Afghan leader Hamid Karzai has called on the Afghan people to come together to form a national army.

In an address to the nation broadcast on radio and television, he also announced plans to control inflation, boost manufacturing and develop the private sector and allow freedom of the press.

The following are excerpts from his speech broadcast by Afghan radio:

The Bonn agreement, whose implementation is the beginning of a new page in our ruined country, will in fact open the path for a prosperous and developed Afghanistan...

[Mr Karzai spoke of the need for] good planning for training and education, paying serious attention to our people's health, efforts to rebuild and expand the agriculture and farming sectors and finally creating a political administration system, which should meet the aspirations of the people of Afghanistan...

Dear compatriots! At present our country has an urgent need for peace and security. In order to meet this objective, I should say firmly and seriously that the existence of weapons in the public eye and the rule of the gun is the main obstacle to establishing peace. Necessary instructions have been issued to security officials in this regard.

Let us come together and cooperate with each other and create a national armed force

Hamed Karzai
Let us come together and cooperate with each other and create a national armed force to be able to give decisive response to threats in order to protect national sovereignty, territorial integrity and the country's independence.

Economic policy

The economic policy of Afghanistan's interim administration is based on the following main objectives:

Containing monetary inflation... preventing the printing of banknotes without any backing, and implementing effective measures regarding monetary policy, which should result in stabilizing the country's financial situation.

Developing domestic products in order to help economic development and raise people's standard of living.

Creating work and boosting employment within the reconstruction and rebuilding programmes. This by itself will help the country's economic and social developments.

Encouraging and developing the private sector within the framework of a free market economy in order to prepare the ground for the development and progress of national and international trade.


Afghan girls celebrating Eid feast
Better future for Afghan children
The constitution guarantees political and social freedom along with freedom of speech and of the press as long as it does not harm other people's rights or national interests... the interim administration will allow a non-government press to publish newspapers within the framework of the press law.

I agree with permitting opposing views and healthy criticism, and I will respect them. The spirit of healthy criticism should develop in order for the people to participate in a free press and media and to strengthen the rule of the people...

The policy of this administration at an international level will be based on mutual respect towards all countries in the world, especially with neighbouring countries. Afghanistan, as an active member of UN, will be committed to all international rules, regulations and agreements.

Following the holy jihad [fight against Russian occupation of Afghanistan], and then the destructive war and misery, which damaged the country fundamentally and turned it into a ruin, the time has now come to extend our hands to that great [Loya] Jerga. And use it in order to resolve our problems and to determine the future structure of our country and its future direction in order to play our historic role.

The Loya Jerga

The policy of this administration at an international level will be based on mutual respect towards all countries in the world, especially with neighbouring countries

Afghan leader
The Bonn agreement has placed emphasis on the formation of an emergency Loya Jerga in the country and has attached fundamental importance to it. The aforementioned Loya Jerga will be convened, at the date determined by the Bonn agreement, by an opening speech by His Highness Mohammad Zaher Shah, the former king, God willing.

At the end of my speech, I would like to ask you, my sisters and brothers, once again to help and cooperate sincerely with me in order to implement our national aspirations, which we all hope to see achieved. I hope, as an Afghan, I will be able to serve my country.

I raise my hands in prayer to God Almighty and ask Him to grant our proud country successes once again to achieve development and progress, welfare and prosperity and peace and security. Amen. Long live Afghanistan. Long live national and Islamic unity and solidarity.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

09 Jan 02 | South Asia
Karzai calls for Afghan army
09 Jan 02 | South Asia
Change gathers pace in Kabul
09 Jan 02 | South Asia
Aid not reaching hungry Afghans
08 Jan 02 | South Asia
Kabul's theatre returns to life
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