Mercury (Hobart)

EX-PRESIDENT SLAMS TALIBAN

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Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai has spoken out against the Taliban for the first time to decry restrictio­ns on female education and revealing his despair at seeing so many talented young people fleeing the country.

“Education of girls is extremely important,” he told The Sunday Times in an interview from his house in Kabul, which is now heavily guarded by the Taliban.

“There is no other way. This will not be a country which stands on its own feet without education, especially for girls.”

Despite the dangers, Mr Karzai said he intended to “continue to speak out and speak out strongly”.

“I stayed because I love my country and wanted to reassure people,” he said. “The loss of young, educated and talented Afghans is an irreparabl­e loss for our country.”

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