'This Week' Transcript: Karzai, Khan and Levitt

KARZAI: Exactly the right question. One of the reasons that I want them disbanded and removed by four months from now is exactly because that their presence is preventing the growth and the development of the Afghan security forces, especially the police force, because 40,000, 50,000 people are given more salaries than the Afghan police.

Why would an Afghan young man come to the police if he can get a job in a security firm, have a lot of leeway and without any discipline? So naturally, our security forces will find it difficult to grow. In order for security forces to grow, these groups must be disbanded.

And here, ma'am, through you, I am appealing to the U.S. taxpayer not to allow their hard-earned money to be wasted on groups that are not only providing lots of inconveniences to the Afghan people, but actually are god knows in contract with Mafia-like groups and perhaps also funding militants and insurgents and terrorists through those funds.

AMANPOUR: Are you not concerned that those who you disband, most of them are Afghans after all, will go and join terrorist insurgents or rival warlords?

KARZAI: No. No, that should not be a concern. If these groups are so bad that if disbanded will become members of the Taliban or insurgents, then they should be disbanded tomorrow.

AMANPOUR: Mr. President, let me talk about corruption, which you, yourself, brought up.

There is still so much corruption, so many allegations of corruption. I want to ask you specifically about two U.S.-backed and mentored task forces, anticorruption task forces that you bitterly criticized not so long ago.

Are you still critical or will you allow them to operate to combat corruption in Afghanistan?

KARZAI: The bodies will stay -- the bodies will stay to work, but they should be within the confines of the Afghan law, within the confines of the Afghan penal code, and within respect of human rights and should be sovereign Afghan bodies, not run or paid by any outside entities.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you about a specific case that caused a lot of anxiety, certainly with you. And that is the case of Zia Salehi, who is one of your close aides in the National Security Council. He was, in fact, arrested under a warrant signed by your own attorney general, and he was subsequently released the very same day. They are saying, because you personally called and asked for him to be released, and they did release him.

Is that true? Did you intervene?

KARZAI: Yes. Yes, I -- yes, absolutely, I intervened. Not only I intervened, but I intervened very, very strongly.

This man was taken out of his house in the middle of the night by 30 Kalashnikov-touting (ph) masked men in the name of Afghan law enforcement. This is exactly reminiscent of the days of the Soviet Union, where people were taken away from their homes by armed people in the name of the state and thrown into obscure prisons and some sort of kangaroo courts. It reminds the Afghan people of those days with immense fear.

So I have intervened. As I am the president of this country, I must uphold the constitution and do things legally from now onwards. Tomorrow, I'll be giving a new instruction to bring these two bodies in accordance with Afghan laws and within the sovereignty of the Afghan state.

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