US President Barack Obama has congratulated people of Afghanistan on the historic elections which he said promise to usher in the first democratic transfer of power in the war-ravaged country.
“On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the millions of Afghans who enthusiastically participated in the historic elections, which promise to usher in the first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan’s history,” Obama said in a statement yesterday.
“The elections represent another important milestone in Afghans taking full responsibility for their country as the United States and our partners draw down our forces,” Obama said.
A day after millions of Afghans exercised their franchise for Presidential elections defying the Taliban threat, Obama commended the Afghan people, security forces, and elections officials on the turnout for voters, which he said “is in keeping with the spirited and positive debate among candidates and their supporters in the run-up to the election.”
“These elections are critical to securing Afghanistan’s democratic future, as well as continued international support,” Obama said.
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“We look to the Afghan electoral bodies to carry out their duties in the coming weeks to adjudicate the results –knowing that the most critical voices on the outcome are those of Afghans themselves,” he said.
Obama also paid tributes to the many Americans –- military and civilian –- who have sacrificed so much to support the Afghan people as they take responsibility for their own future.
“The US continues to support a sovereign, stable, unified,and democratic Afghanistan, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the new government chosen by the Afghan people on the basis of mutual respect and mutual accountability,” the US President said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel also joined the US President in congratulating the people of Afghanistan in the successful conduct of the historic elections.
“Millions of Afghan men and women took to the polls with courage and commitment. This is their moment.
The Afghan people secured this election. They ran this election, and most importantly, they voted in this election,” Kerry said.
“Today’s vote demonstrates how committed the Afghan people are to protecting and advancing their democracy. The fierce determination of the millions of voters undeterred by violence and threats of violence has been remarkable,” he said in a statement.
Kerry said the US remains ready to work with the next president of Afghanistan.
“We will continue to stand with the people of Afghanistan as they work to build a democratic future,” he said.
Commending the millions of Afghans who went to the polls to vote for their next President, Hagel said the open and responsible debate among the candidates over the past two months, and the turnout for these elections, demonstrates to the world that the Afghan people want to determine their own future.
“The Afghan National Security Forces should be commended for providing the security which enabled these elections to take place.
“I thank US forces and ISAF personnel for supporting the ANSF, and greatly appreciate General Dunford’s steady leadership throughout this process,” he said.
“As Afghanistan begins a peaceful transfer of power, and we look ahead to the end of our combat mission later this year, we should not lose sight of how much we have accomplished,” he added.
“The progress we have seen in Afghanistan is a testament to the tireless efforts and sacrifices of American, ISAF, and Afghan personnel. But above all, it shows the strength and resilience of the Afghan people, and of the partnership the United States has built with them. It is a partnership that
will endure,” he said.