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Flag Raising Ceremony as Afghanistan Embassy in Washington

Aired January 28, 2002 - 10:12   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Want to go back to the Afghan Embassy right now. Hamid Karzai (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the podium, rather, now speaking, in the nation's capitol.

HAMID KARZAI, AFGHAN INTERIM GOVERNMENT CHAIRMAN: It's a thrilling moment for us to have Afghanistan recognized again as a nation-state, as a government, and to have all of you distinguished ladies and gentlemen here to watch the raising of the Afghan flag at the Afghan Embassy.

This flag and the ceremony today is raised not without costs; without the costs of having struggled for many years, without the costs of having lost so many lives in order to have a free, sovereign and good Afghanistan. An Afghanistan without the presence of threat of terrorism, an Afghanistan without the presence or threat of practicalism and all evil that both of them brought together.

To the people of Afghanistan and to the people of the United States of America, the Afghans share that pain with the American people because Afghans have gone through the same pain so they know what it is. We have had some distinguished sons of our country lose their lives in this struggle. As was mentioned, one of those sons was Ahmed Shah Massoud...

(APPLAUSE)

KARZAI: ...who struggled to defend his country and who was martyred by terrorists themselves, directly -- very directly.

They whipped him and killed him there. We've had other sons of this country as well who were martyrs, millions of them. One of them was Commander Abdul Haq who was killed by the Taliban in a brutal way.

It's because of sons like this that Afghanistan had whose memory will be forever that you're capable of standing here today and to raise this flag.

I'm thankful to the American people, to the government, for giving us this opportunity for helping to rebuild this embassy and for helping us organize this event. Let's hope that this flag will be there forever, and that the partnership between the American and Afghan people will be forever. That is what the Afghan people have been asking for and I, too, am asking for that.

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.

(APPLAUSE)

HEMMER: Hamid Karzai at the Afghan Embassy there in Washington, D.C. In a moment we're going to see the flag go up. You can see it to the right there, the familiar black, red and green colors that were so common during the days of the former king, Zahir Shah, when he was sent -- exiled back in 1973.

We can tell you, that flag is quite prevalent in different parts of Afghanistan today, certainly the capital city of Kabul. It's also quite present in Kandahar and also at the air base where the U.S. military and its coalition partners are operating out of.

That flag right there, raised again in Washington, also raised every morning when the sun comes up and taken down every night, when the colors are altered and changed at the close of every day in Kandahar.

From here, Hamid Karzai will meet with the president. Certainly, they will have a lot to talk about. Certainly, rebuilding Afghanistan is chief on that list. But also is Afghan security throughout the entire country. We know pockets of resistance still exist. Once again we saw that earlier today, again at that hospital in central Kandahar, exclusive videotape by CNN. Six al Qaeda fighters, holed up for months there, in a shoot out with Afghan forces and U.S. special forces on the ground there.

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