(Prague, Washington, Kabul--May 26, 2005) U.S. Ambassador and Special Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan on Thursday that a joint U.S.-Afghan military commission will be established to share intelligence and coordinate special operations in Afghanistan. "Afghan forces will participate together with U.S. troops in house searches and other operations to rout out remnants of al Qaeda," Khalilzad said.
Khalilzad made the statement while participating as a featured guest on the "Waves of Freedom" live call-in show. He spoke about the importance of the "Joint Declaration of the United States-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership," signed this week in Washington by President George Bush and visiting Afghan president Hamid Karzai.
Khalilzad said the partnership agreement will promote peace and stability in Afghanistan and neighboring countries. "Peace and stability in Afghanistan means peace and stability also for Afghanistan's neighbors and advances the interests of the entire region," he said.
Khalilzad spoke in Dari and Pashto from his home in Washington, as part of a tri-city hook-up -- Prague, Washington, Kabul. Initially scheduled to appear for 30 minutes, he remained for the full two hours of the live call-in show, answering questions from listeners and two experts in Radio Free Afghanistan's Kabul studio, political analyst Waheed Muzhda and president of the NGO "Afghanistan Legal Assistance," Karim Khoram.
"Waves of Freedom," a weekly talk show, was launched in May 2003 and quickly became Radio Free Afghanistan's most popular program, with an estimated audience of more than 6 million listeners inside Afghanistan, in addition to an international listenership.
Moderated from RFE/RL's Broadcast Operations Center in Prague by two senior broadcasters, one speaking Dari (Zarif Nazar)and the other Pashto (Jan Alekozai), the program airs from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM Prague time (4 PM to 6 PM Kabul time) and is repeated in two parts the following day. The program brings Afghan scholars, politicians and leading figures to RFE/RL's Kabul studio to discuss the topic of the week with an invited guest in the West. Listeners' comments and questions are live and unscreened, a feature that has made the program immensely popular.
Today's program with Ambassador Khalilzad received many calls from inside Afghanistan as well as other countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Germany, the U.K., Denmark and the Netherlands.
Radio Free Afghanistan, the Dari- and Pashto-language service of RFE/RL, broadcasts 12 hours of programming a day, with programs produced in Prague and the service's Kabul Bureau and transmitted to listeners via shortwave, satellite and AM and FM signals provided by the International Broadcasting Bureau. Radio Free Afghanistan programming is also available via the Internet, at the service's trilingual website www.azadiradio.org
and at www.rferl.org