Afghan Pres. Karzai: 'Iran has been a helper and a solution'
CNN's Wolf Blitzer spoke on Sunday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, beginning with Karzai's intention to speak to President Bush about the unacceptably high level of civilian casualties caused by NATO forces in his country. Karzai was unwilling to agree with Blitzer's blunt description of the NATO forces, including the US, as "trigger-happy," but diplomatically asserted that "mistakes are made, and we must try our best to reduce the number of mistakes."
Blitzer then presented statistics showing the number of coalition troops killed in Afghanistan rising steadily since 2004 and the number of suicide attacks also skyrocketing in the last two years. "Is it a fair assessment that the security situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating?" he asked, and Karzai agreed.
Blitzer quoted US Ambassador to Afghanistan William Wood, who recently blamed Iran for the deteriorating security situation. According to Wood, "there is no question that weaponry of Iranian types has been entering Afghanistan for some time, in amounts that make it hard to imagine that the Iranian government is not aware that this is happening."
"We have had reports of the kind you just mentioned," acknowledged Karzai. However, he went on to defend Iran strongly, saying, "Iran has been a supporter of Afghanistan in the peace process that we have and the fight against terror and the fight against narcotics in Afghanistan. ... We have had very very good, very very close relations. ... Iran has been a helper and a solution."
The following video is from CNN's Late Edition, broadcast on August 5.