George W. Bush photo

Remarks on the Situation in Afghanistan and an Exchange With Reporters in Kennebunkport

July 06, 2002

Assassination of Vice President Haji Abdul Qadir of Afghanistan

The President. Today Vice President Qadir of Afghanistan was gunned down. The administration and our country mourns the loss of a man who desired freedom and stability for the country he loved. We have been in touch with Chairman Karzai, expressed our deepest condolences to the Chairman and the Government and people of Afghanistan, who lost a good and valued friend.

The Afghan Government is in the process of investigating who might have done this. And we are more resolved than ever to bring stability to the country so that the Afghan people can have peace and hope.

I'll answer a couple of questions.

Q. Mr. President, did you personally call Chairman Karzai? And what does this say about the ability of a new Government to form and actually succeed there, and what are your concerns?

The President. No, I haven't spoken to Chairman Karzai yet. I spoke to him yesterday, interestingly enough, to express our condolences about the loss of life during the military action. He was talked to by a member of my national security team.

I am confident and I believe Chairman Karzai is confident that with patience and with aid and with a proper strategy, that Afghanistan can develop into a peaceful and hopeful nation.

Bombing of Afghan Civilians

Q. Sir, what do you say to the Afghan people who are upset about the bombing of civilians?

The President. Well, I say, you know, we're investigating. I say "we." Both the Afghanistan Government and the United States Government are investigating to find out the facts. But I can say to the Afghan people exactly what I told to Chairman Karzai, "Anytime innocent life is lost, we're sad. Our country values life, all life, and we'll find out what the facts are and then address it accordingly."

Assassination of Vice President Haji Abdul Qadir of Afghanistan

Q. Can the United States or the FBI or someone help with the investigation of the assassination, or will they?

The President. Well, we'll find out. Right now the Afghan Government believes they can handle the investigation. There's all kinds of scenarios as to how the—who killed him. But we'll work closely with the Government if they want us to.

Q. Sir, is there any sign that this kind of assassination may be connected to terrorist groups who are trying to get more involved in the country?

The President. It could be that. It could be drug lords. It could be longtime rivals. Who knows? All we know is a good man is dead, and we mourn his loss.

All right, thank you all. Thanks.

President's Birthday

Q. Birthday plans, sir?

The President. Let's see, settling in, a family lunch, may go for a run—it will be a mechanical run, however.

Q. Why, not hot enough?

The President. No, I wish I could get off the Point, but I think the agents will say today it's probably best for me to stay on Walker's Point.

Let's see, what else will be happening? Who knows? Maybe a surprise party. [Laughter] Other than that, just hanging out with my family, which is a wonderful gift unto itself.

Thank you all.

Q. What took you so long to play 18 holes—just 2 hours and 10 minutes? The President. Well, I think it's because

I three-putted too many greens. [Laughter] Have a good day today.

Q. Happy birthday, Mr. President.

The President. Thank you all.

NOTE: The President spoke at 8:36 a.m. at the Cape Arundel Golf Course. In his remarks, he referred to President Hamid Karzai of the Transitional Authority of Afghanistan.

George W. Bush, Remarks on the Situation in Afghanistan and an Exchange With Reporters in Kennebunkport Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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