World hurt by terrorism before Iraq: Karzai
By DPA | September 27, 2006
Washington, Sep 27 (DPA) Afghan President Hamid Karzai joined US President George Bush in deflecting recent reports that the US-led Iraq war has aided terrorist recruiting around the world, and chastised the American public for forgetting the lessons of Sep 11, 2001.
"Terrorism was hurting us way before Iraq or Sep 11," Karzai said in a joint press conference with Bush in Washington Tuesday. "They came to America on Sep 11 but they were attacking you before Sep 11 in other parts of the world."
President Bush said he was "not surprised" that terrorists were using the Iraq war as a recruitment tool, but said it was one excuse among many.
"My judgment is if we weren't in Iraq they'd find some other excuse," Bush said. "We're not going to let their excuses stop us from staying on the offence."
Karzai also seemed to backtrack on his criticism of a peace deal to Pakistani tribal leaders made by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on the border region of Waziristan. But he said his country wanted to make sure the accord did not allow Taliban fighters to use the region as a launching pad for attacks on Afghanistan.
"We will have to see if (the treaty) is going to be implemented exactly the way it is signed," Karzai said. The Afghan leader said he initially understood a deal had been made with the Taliban, but that Musharraf had since "explained" the outlines of the accord.
Referring to the reports of tensions between the two Asian neighbours - sparked by Karzai's criticism of Musharraf's peace deal - Bush said it will be "interesting for me to watch the body language between these two leaders" during Wednesday's meeting.
Bush, Karzai and Musharraf are due to meet for a dinner at the White House on Wednesday.