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Bush Reaffirms U.S. Support For Afghanistan

Washington, 15 June 2004 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. President George W. Bush told visiting Afghan leader Hamid Karzai today that the U.S. government is reaffirming its "iron-clad guarantee" to help make Afghanistan a democratic and prosperous country.

Bush said his administration will do all it can to support democratic institutions in Afghanistan. The president said the United States is determined to promote economic ties with Afghanistan as well as cultural programs.

Karzai said Afghanistan is looking forward to holding national elections in September.

Earlier today, Karzai spoke to both houses of the U.S. Congress. Karzai asked for continued U.S. investment in his war-torn nation.

"To succeed, we ask for your continued investment. Afghanistan is open for business and American companies are most welcome. Together, we will make Afghanistan a great success and an enduring example of a prosperous, democratic society," Karzai said.

Karzai's address came hours after some 100 Afghans demonstrated in the Afghan capital Kabul demanding his resignation, saying his term of office has expired under a peace agreement that installed his administration.