Item 1403 - Statement by Mr N R Mandela regarding his position on the war in Afghanistan

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ZA COM MR-S-1403


Statement by Mr N R Mandela regarding his position on the war in Afghanistan


  • 2002-01-02 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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  • English

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During our recent visit to the United States of America we expressed our unreserved support for President George W Bush's actions in Afghanistan in pursuit of Osama bin Laden and his organisation who are suspected of being responsible for the terror attacks in New York and Washington on 11 September. We expressed the opinion that tragic as war may be, it was justified in this case as it proved the only method available for flushing out the terrorists whom the Taliban government in Afghanistan refused to hand over to the United States.

Subsequent discussions with our family, friends and advisors have convinced us that our view may be one-sided and overstated. It was pointed out to us that such unreserved support for the war in Afghanistan gives the impression that we are insensitive to and uncaring about the suffering inflicted upon the Afghan people and country. The labelling of Osama bin Laden as the terrorist responsible for those acts before he had been tried and convicted could also be seen as undermining some of the basic tenets of the rule of law.

Although we always made it clear that the war against terrorism could in no way be interpreted as a war against Muslims, we do wish to register our sincere regret if the manner in which we stated our position gave any offence to Muslims in South Africa and throughout the world. We shall be arranging meetings with Muslim leadership in the country early in the new year to personally convey this message to them.

We are also writing to President Bush to appropriately qualify the view we previously expressed to him in person and in correspondence. Our opposition to all forms of terrorism remains total and we support the stance of our government in joining international efforts to combat and eradicate terrorism. Those responsible for the terror acts of 11 September must be apprehended and brought to trial without inflicting suffering on innocent people.

Our world body, the United Nations Organisation, should play a leading role in combating terrorism. And we should urgently address the situations of conflict throughout the world as these provide fertile grounds for the growth of terrorism.

Issued by: The Office of Mr Mandela
27 December 2001

Enquiries: Prof G J (Jakes) Gerwel
Chairperson: Nelson Mandela Foundation

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation. Accessioned on 02/02/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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