Remarks by President Bush and President Karzai of Afghanistan in Press Availability

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a transcript of remarks by President Bush and President Karzai of Afghanistan in press availability: Camp David 11:17 A.M. EDT PRESIDENT BUSH: Good morning...


Who is supporting them is a question that we have been working on for a long time, and since then. And I hope that the jirga between us and Pakistan will give us solutions to some of the questions that we have.

PRESIDENT BUSH: One thing is for certain: We know the vision -- their vision of how to govern. They've been in power. They've had the opportunity to show the world how they think and what they do. It's instructive for people to speak to a mother of a young girl about what life was like under the Taliban. These are brutal, cold-blooded killers.

PRESIDENT KARZAI: Yes.

PRESIDENT BUSH: That's what they are. And the fundamental question facing those of us who believe in freedom is whether or not we confront them, and whether or not it's worth it -- the effort -- to spread an alternative to their hateful vision. And we've come to the conclusion it is. And that's why President Karzai stands right here at Camp David, discussing common concerns, common opportunities, about how to defeat a vision of darkness. That's what they are. They just don't believe in freedom. They don't believe it's possible to live in a society where people are allowed to express themselves in free fashion.

And it's really part of an ongoing challenge that the free world faces. The real question is whether or not those of us who have the blessings of liberty will continue to pursue policies -- foreign policy, security policy aimed at not only protecting our homeland, but aimed at laying a condition for peace to prevail.

Caren.

Q Thank you, Mr. President . President Karzai said yesterday that he believed Iran was playing a helpful role in Afghanistan . Was he able to convince you in your meetings that that was the case, or do you still have concerns about Iran's role? And I have a question for President Karzai as well. Just wondering if the President was able to give you the assurances that you sought about the effort to reduce civilian casualties in Afghanistan ?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Let me comment on the civilian casualties, if I might. First, I fully understand the angst, the agony and the sorrow that Afghan citizens feel when an innocent life is lost. I know that must cause grief in villages and heartbreak in homes. Secondly, I can assure the Afghan people, like I assured the President, that we do everything we can to protect the innocent; that our military operations are mindful that innocent life might be exposed to danger, and we adjust accordingly.

Thirdly, it is the Taliban who surround themselves with innocent life as human shields. The Taliban are the cold-blooded killers. The Taliban are the murderers. The Taliban have no regard for human life. And therefore, we've spent some time talking about -- as the President rightly expressed his concerns about civilian casualty. And I assured him that we share those concerns.

Secondly, it's up to Iran to prove to the world that they're a stabilizing force as opposed to a destabilizing force. After all, this is a government that has proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon. This is a government that is in defiance of international accord, a government that seems to be willing to thumb its nose at the international community and, at the same time, a government that denies its people a rightful place in the world and denies its people the ability to realize their full potential.

So I believe that it's in the interests of all of us that we have an Iran that tries to stabilize, not destabilize; an Iran that gives up its weapons ambitions. And therefore, we're working to that end. The President knows best about what's taking place in his country, and of course, I'm willing to listen. But from my perspective, the burden of proof is on the Iranian government to show us that they're a positive force. And I must tell you that this current leadership there is a big disappointment to the people of Iran . The people of Iran could be doing a lot better than they are today. But because of the actions of this government, this country is isolated. And we will continue to work to isolate it, because they're not a force for good, as far as we can see. They're a destabilizing influence wherever they are.