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Karzai Lays Wreath at World Trade Center Site - 2002-01-30


Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai has placed a memorial wreath at the ruins of the World Trade Center, after urging the U-N Security Council to expand its multi-national peacekeeping force in his homeland.

Mr. Karzai used the brief ceremonies at what has become known as "ground zero" to extend official condolences from the Afghan people to those Americans who lost loved ones in terrorist attacks September 11th.

Earlier, he told the U-N body that security is the key to rebuilding his war-shattered country. He said his appraisal comes after talks with hundreds of Afghanis who told him peacekeeping must be expanded beyond Kabul to include all of Afghanistan's major cities.

Mr. Karzai made a similar appeal Monday during talks with President Bush at the White House. The president said the United States will help Afghanistan create an army and a national police force. But he reaffirmed that he has no intention of allowing U-S troops to join peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, Mr. Karzai met with congressional leaders and pledged to work to create an honest and democratic government. He also asked for an immediate infusion of cash to his administration to get the process started.

Mr. Karzai said the international community must be more generous in helping Afghanistan get back on its feet.

The Afghan leader is also scheduled to hold talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London, before returning to Afghanistan later this week.

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