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Karzai Visits WTC Site - 2002-01-30

Interim Afghanistan leader Hamid Karzai has visited the World Trade Center site in New York.

Current Afghan leader Hamid Karzai followed an appearance at the United Nations with a visit to the wasteland where New York's famed Twin Towers once stood.

He laid a wreath at the site where 3,000 people were killed by the September 11 terrorist attack, and spoke of the sorrow that unites Afghans and Americans. "The people that committed the crime here in New York, and the people that committed crimes in Afghanistan against the Afghan people, they destroyed exactly the same there as they did here," he said. "They were against life itself, against the essence of life, of being. And our people, the Afghan people, they know the pain of the American people."

Mr. Karzai drew a parallel between the obliteration of the towers and that of the great Buddhas by the Taleban in Afghanistan, classifying both acts as "the destruction of life." Then he made the people of New York a promise. "I want the people in New York to see the faces of those people on trial on TV, and to see that they receive justice," said Hamid Karzai. "That we will do. That is a promise, and we will deliver on that."

When asked about his political aspirations in Afghanistan, Mr. Karzai said his sole interest was in winning the right of self-determination for the Afghan people.