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Asharq Al-Awsat Q & A with Afghan Presidential Candidate Dr. Abdullah Abdullah - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Q) What was your message to the Afghans during your election tours in all the provinces you visited?

A) We want to save our country from the dangers and perils by working with everyone to find solutions for the problems that have accumulated over the years. We suffered from wars for 30 years and want to build a state based on justice and equality between all the people. We want to consolidate security for the Afghans. We lack only the feeling of security and safety.

Q) How optimistic are you about winning?

A) If there was no rigging, victory would be mine God willing.

Q) Had Al-Qaeda’s assassination of Ahmad Shah Masud, the Northern Alliance leader, your friend and top symbol, two days before the 9/11 attacks left some bitterness in your heart against the Arabs?

A) Absolutely not. The bitterness is against these terrorists with destructive minds who do hate what is good for humanity. They killed a pious Muslim who knew his God. I knew him well and was his colleague during the years of the jihad against the Russians. He feared God and was faithful to his religion and homeland. Al-Qaeda is not the Arabs and our hearts and hands are open to the Arabs. These terrorists are daily killing the innocent who did not commit any crimes here in Kabul and south Afghanistan.

Q) What is your message to the Arab countries?

A) The Arab world is an important part of the Islamic one and we cannot do or live without it. The Arabic language was the first thing I learned from my father during my childhood years. Because it is the language of the Holy Koran, it is etched in the Afghans’ hearts. I have friends everywhere in the Arab world, from politicians to intellectuals and businessmen I have known for a long time. But Muslim Afghanistan in this part of the world needs your investments because this country needs too much to alleviate the Afghan people’s suffering.

Q) What did your election campaign cost and who financed it, such as the helicopters which took you to the various provinces, the security escorting you, and the convoys of vehicles that took you to various parts of the capital?

A) The NATO forces and Afghan Army provided us with the helicopters several times. The offer came from them. I was one time going to Gardiz and there was no helicopter available and we went in cars. I drove thousands of kilometers traveling by car to convey my message to all the Afghan people. There were contributions from my friends who support my election campaign. For example, the fleet of cars outside my house is a gift from one businessman until the campaign is over. There were other contributions.

Q) What is your comment on Karzai’s alliance with the warlords few days before the election, such as Marshal Qasim Fahim, Abdul Rashid Dostum who returned from his voluntary exile in Turkey, and his second deputy Karim Khalili?

A) I can describe it as some kind of short-term deals that have no vision in favor of the country.

Q) What is your dream today after voting in the second presidential election?

A) We want security and safety to return to Afghanistan, the Muslim republic, but not like the Taliban’s Islamic emirate. We want it a modern Muslim state where its citizens know their democratic rights and their rights and duties and who believe in the right of citizenship and peace with neighboring countries.

Q) Do you believe in the usefulness of negotiations with Taliban in order to speed up the peace process?

A) Reconciliation is based on understanding and negotiations between two sides. Taliban has not demonstrated so far any concrete steps in this direction.

Q) Do you have the support of the veteran Afghan mujahid in and fighters?

A) I have the support of most of them, from Professor Borhanoddin Rabbani, the first president of the mujahidin government and leader of the “United Melli Front”, and also Sheikh Yunus Qanuni, the present parliament speaker. Sheikh Saif supports President Karzai.

Q) What would be your priorities if you became the president of the Republic of Afghanistan?

A) There are priorities which I will take into account. The first is the government team I will be working with, that is the group of ministers I will be working with for the process of change toward the better that is in the country’s interest. The fight against corruption will beat the top of my priorities as well as the establishment of security and safety all over Afghanistan.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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