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Afghanistan ‘on the right track’ for unity government, says ambassador

September 18th, 2014
03:24 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

After months of deadlock over its presidential election, Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United Kingdom told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday that the country is “on the right track” to forming a unity government.

“Today the president” – Hamid Karzai – “met with leaders figures of the country, and tomorrow these figures, these leading personalities are slated to talk to both candidates to encourage them to reach a final agreement as soon as possible,” Mohammad Daud Yaar said.

Former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah is in a stalemate with former Finance Minister and World Bank executive Ashraf Ghani. Both claim they won April’s presidential election.


Filed under:  Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

West must include Syria stronghold in ISIS fight, says NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

September 5th, 2014
03:00 PM ET

Click here to watch Amanpour's full interview with Rasmussen.

By Mick Krever, CNN

The West must include ISIS’s Syria stronghold in its effort to defeat it, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Friday.

There is “no doubt that Syria and Iraq should be looked upon as a whole. Many of the problems originate from the internal conflict in Syria. There is a clear spill over to the region.”

“And that’s why I think the international community will have to address these problems as a whole.”

The United States said at the conclusion of a NATO summit on Friday that it would seek to assemble a coalition to confront ISIS. President Barack Obama has said that the goal is to “degrade and destroy” ISIS.

But the White House has not said yet whether Syria, a country President Obama has long been wary of becoming involved in military, would be included its efforts.

“It has been very hard to see a military solution to the conflict in Syria,” Rasmussen said. “And still I think a long-term, sustainable solution will take a strong political and diplomatic effort.”

“But the bottom line is that we have seen the rise of this terrorist organization, the Islamic State, that has committed horrific atrocities, and now I see it as an obligation for the international community to stop it, to defeat it, and take the necessary steps to that end.”


Filed under:  Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour • Iraq • Latest Episode • Syria

'There was fraud committed on both sides' says U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan

August 26th, 2014
12:10 PM ET

By Henry Hullah

Afghanistan is in a state of paralysis.

On the day of this interview the new Afghan President was supposed to be inaugurated, instead the country remains in a political deadlock.

Is the nation going to be able to take significant steps forward any time soon?

The United States Ambassador to Afghanistan, James B. Cunningham, seems to think so.

"There's actually been quite a bit of progress," he told Christiane Amanpour.

"What they've agreed is that there will be a president; there will be what's called a chief executive officer, not a prime minister, because that position doesn't exist under the Afghan constitution. It may later, but it doesn't now."

"All the details of how to do that are what they're sorting out right now."

Amanpour asked about the probability of a candidate being inaugurated by the new designated date of September 2nd.

"I think it's possible," said the diplomat. "It's an important opportunity for a president to be declared and to get him on to the international stage at the NATO summit a few days later."

"We'll keep trying to help them reach that goal"


Filed under:  Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

Envoy ‘reasonably confident’ about Afghan political future

July 15th, 2014
07:09 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

As the U.S. brokers a deal to try to stave off political calamity in Afghanistan, the American special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan said he was hopeful and “reasonably confident” that the country can hold together politically.

“I think it will depend first of all on the leadership exercised by the two candidates” – Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani – “in forming a national unity government and then working together over the next several years.

“It will also depend on their ability to hold their supporters to this agreement as well. I think they have the capacity to do that. I think they are committed to working together.”

Secretary of State John Kerry made a surprise trip to Kabul this weekend to broker a deal between the rival presidential candidates, who have both claimed victory in their country’s election and alleged massive fraud.


Filed under:  Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

Abdullah: Half of Afghan ballots are ‘suspicious’

July 8th, 2014
02:48 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah alleged massive fraud in his country’s election in an interview with CNN’s Michael Holmes, in for Christiane Amanpour, on Tuesday.

“Half of the ballot papers used are considered to be suspicious based on standard critereas [sic], universal critereas of free and fair elections,” Abdullah, the country’s former foreign minister, said from Kabul.

Preliminary results from last month’s election were announced yesterday, and showed Abdullah’s opponent, former World Bank official Ashraf Ghani, with the lead.

Ghani on Tuesday said the preliminary results were “legitimate and credible.”


Filed under:  Afghanistan • Latest Episode

Could Afghanistan be the next Iraq?

June 25th, 2014
03:32 PM ET

By Claire Calzonetti, CNN

Could Afghanistan be the next Iraq?

“If you think about what the lessons of Iraq are, I hope that every Afghan is sitting in the evening thinking clearly about the lessons of Iraq,” Marc Grossman – the former U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan – told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

The violence rocking Kabul and other parts of the country – with another four killed today, and 27 dead since summer offensive began – raises the harsh specter of an Iraq-like disaster once U.S. and NATO forces pull out at the end of the year.

No one knows the pitfalls and the possibilities better than former ambassador Marc Grossman, who was the Obama Administration's point man in some of the toughest yet vital peace negotiations


Filed under:  Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour • Iraq • Latest Episode

Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad: 'The reality of Iraq has changed after Mosul'

June 13th, 2014
11:35 AM ET

By Henry Hullah

Former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, the U.N. and Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad has been a key voice in the relationship between the U.S. and the Middle East over the years. Amanpour asked what he thinks of the situation in Iraq right now as ISIS insurgents have gone from taking Mosul, Iraq's second city, to moving in around Baghdad.

“The speed with which things have moved have reminded me of Afghanistan in the nineties when the Taliban were on the scene and moved extremely rapidly to take over one city after another.”

The U.S. has spent a decade training the people of Iraq to fight this sort of insurgency, will they step back into the fray?

“The reality of Iraq has changed after Mosul”.

"The U.S. forces have to take into account not only the Iraqi forces; can they be helped? Can they be effective? But also the Kurdish forces, how to relate to them because they are perhaps in a better position”.

Former Prime Minister of Iraq Ayad Allawi told the program that the U.S. would make things worse if they entered the conflict. He said he would be going to Baghdad to attempt to create unity, could he achieve it?

Khalilzad stated, “He is a key figure but there are others who are important now too”.

“No single person can do the job, the Iraqis have to come together”.

Filed under:  Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour • Iraq • Latest Episode

NATO Commander: Bergdahl hasn’t been debriefed yet

June 6th, 2014
02:53 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, whose release from five years in Taliban captivity has been mired in controversy, is not “actually being debriefed yet,” NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, General Philip Breedlove, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Friday.

“What we're concentrating on right now is his health. He has been in a very tough place for a long time. Landstuhl Medical Center [in Germany] is the perfect place for this. It is the best place in the world to do it. That's what we're focussed on right now."

Breedlove and Amanpour spoke in Normandy, France, where world leaders marked 70 years since the Allied D-Day invasion during World War II.

Bergdahl’s release has become a political football in the United States since it was announced last week.

Critics believe he was a deserter (an Army investigation found that he walked off his Afghan base voluntarily) and say he was not worth the five Taliban members who were released from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for his freedom.

“The Army has given all of our forces a great culture, and that culture is no soldier left behind,” General Breedlove said. “So no soldier, no sailor, airman, nor marine we leave behind.”


Filed under:  Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine

Amanpour's Afghan presidential interviews

May 12th, 2014
01:42 PM ET

CNN's Christiane Amanpour has interviewed all the major presidential candidates in Afghanistan - Zalmai Rassoul, Abdullah Abdullah, and Ashraf Ghani.

You can watch those interviews here:


Afghan candidate Ashraf Ghani

CNN's Christiane Amanpour speaks with the leading candidate for Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani.


Afghan Pres candidate Rassoul speaks out

CNN's Christiane Amanpour speaks with Afghan presidential candidate and former foreign minister Zalmai Rasoul.


Abdullah Abdullah on Afghan future

CNN's Christiane Amanpour speaks with Abdullah Abdullah, a leading contender to replace Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Filed under:  Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour

Leading Afghan candidate Ashraf Ghani reaches out to U.S.

April 4th, 2014
07:24 AM ET

In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani pledges to “overcome” past problems with the United States, and says the consensus in Afghanistan for a productive relationship is there.

Click above to watch.

You can see the rest of Amanpour's interview with Ghani here.

Filed under:  Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour
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