'This Week' Transcript: Karzai, Khan and Levitt

Transcript: Karzai, Khan and Levitt

ByABC News
August 15, 2010, 5:00 AM

August 15, 2010 — -- AMANPOUR: Good morning. I'm Christiane Amanpour, and at the top of the news this week, the fight for Afghanistan. The U.S.-led surge pushes ahead. As corruption threatens the Afghan government and U.S. support for the war, Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, answers tough questions in an exclusive "This Week" interview. Does he think the U.S. can defeat the Taliban? What kind of deal is he willing to make with them?

And then, the controversy over the Islamic center near ground zero.


(UNKNOWN): How is that (inaudible), by building a mosque, an in-your-face mosque at ground zero?

(UNKNOWN): 9/11 was not conducted by Muslims, it was conducted by terrorists.


AMANPOUR: As the debate rages, the woman behind the Islamic center, Daisy Khan, speaks out exclusively on "This Week."


KHAN: When (inaudible) both, we don't understand that.


AMANPOUR: And she'll be joined by a key adviser on the project, Rabbi Joy Levitt.

Plus, more dismal news on the economy. What happened to the summer of recovery? We'll tackle that and all of the week's politics on our roundtable with George Will, Robert Reich, Judy Woodruff and Al Hunt.

And the Sunday Funnies.


STEPHEN COLBERT, TALK SHOW HOST: We're out of Iraq. And best of all, we got out two weeks ahead of schedule. Now, Iraq will always be remembered as the war that ended early.


AMANPOUR: As the U.S. surge pushes into Afghanistan, Kandahar has become the focus of the effort to root out the Taliban and other insurgent fighters. But with less than one year remaining before the U.S. says at least some of the troops will be withdrawn, brazen Taliban attacks continue. ABC's Miguel Marquez was on the frontlines of the fight at Kandahar and he has this report.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, ABC NEWS: With surge troops in place, success or failure here now in the hands of soldiers like Captain Warren Green (ph) from Columbus, Georgia.

(UNKNOWN): Once we know the population here, if we see different people in the area, we're going to say, hey, you're a stranger.

MARQUEZ: The hardest fight -- separating friends from enemies on a battlefield that has no lines.

(UNKNOWN): You guys live in this area?

MARQUEZ: One minute, soldiers are getting to know their neighbors. The next...

(UNKNOWN): (inaudible), over.

(UNKNOWN): 136, just tell me where you're taking contact (ph) from.

MARQUEZ: ... they're under fire.

The biggest prize in the fight for Afghanistan -- Kandahar. It's the country's second largest city and a rich agricultural area just west of it is Taliban central.

(UNKNOWN): This entire area is very important. And we know that. And we're pushing on all sides.

MARQUEZ: The push here is political as well as military. Kandahar's government is weak and it will be up to power brokers like Ahmed Wali Karzai, the president's brother, a controversial figure, to give control over money and political power back to the government.

(UNKNOWN): I'm wiling to work and I'm willing to offer my support for Afghanistan. Success for Afghanistan is my success. If God forbid, if there is a failure, I will be the first person to suffer the most.

MARQUEZ: Before a political settlement can even be contemplated, the Taliban will have to be defeated, and the people here assured they'll never return.

Is there any doubt in your mind that you can't expel the Taliban from your area of operation?

(UNKNOWN): We have no doubt. We will take care of the Taliban and we will return this area back to the people. We have no doubt.

MARQUEZ: No doubt his soldiers can win on the battlefield, but can the coalition and the Afghan government win the war? For This Week, I'm Miguel Marquez, in Sanjuray (ph), Afghanistan.


AMANPOUR: Joining me now from Kabul is the president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai.

Mr. President, thank you for joining us this week.

KARZAI: Happy to be with you.

AMANPOUR: Mr. President, what is the roadmap for your peace talks with the Taliban and how confident are you that you can have some kind of settlement, political settlement with them?

KARZAI: The roadmap is clear. The indications for peace would be that Afghanistan will be ready to talk to those Taliban powers who belong to Afghanistan and who are not part of Al Qaida, who are not part of any other terrorist network, who accept the Afghan constitution and the progress that we have achieved in the past so many years, and who are willing to return to a normal civilian life and who are not connected to any foreign body outside of Afghanistan.

AMANPOUR: How advanced are you in trying to get the Taliban to these talks?

KARZAI: Of course, there are individual contacts with some Taliban elements. That's not yet a formal process.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you about some of the concerns that people have? For instance, women's groups are very concerned. They say that promises by you to be properly and adequately represented at any peace jirga are faltering, and they are very concerned that any deal with the Taliban leads to their rights, those that they've gained, being -- being eradicated.

KARZAI: They will be part of the High Council For Peace as well. Their representation will be solid and meaningful, substantive. And of course, this is upon us as the right of the Afghan people to make sure that the gains we have made, especially the gains that our women have made in political, social and economic walks of life, not only are kept but are promoted and advanced further.

AMANPOUR: Well, given that pledge you are now making, how concerned are you by, for instance, the stoning of that couple, that young couple in Afghanistan over the last week, the first public stoning since the fall of the Taliban after 9/11?

KARZAI: I was shocked when I heard that. That's a terrible sign. That's -- that's indeed part of our failure, the Afghan government and the international community as well, to give protection to the Afghan people. We are investigating it, but it came to me as a deep, deep shock.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you this, the president of Pakistan recently said that the battle for hearts and minds in Afghanistan is already lost. Do you agree with him, and do you believe that the war in Afghanistan is winnable?

KARZAI: I believe the campaign against terrorism is absolutely winnable. We have to win, but we -- in order for us to do that, we must end the business as usual and we must begin to reexamine whether we are doing everything correctly, whether we are doing the right things, and whether we are having the support of the Afghan people or whether that support is declining. And if it is declining, then there are reasons for it and we must correct those reasons.