News / Asia

US Hails Afghan Elections

US Hails Afghan Electionsi
X
Michael Bowman
April 06, 2014 8:29 PM
President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are hailing Saturday’s elections in Afghanistan, which are expected to produce the country’s first-ever democratic transfer of power. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, although Afghanistan’s next president may not be known for weeks, the Obama administration hopes the new leader will finalize a bilateral security agreement to keep a residual U.S. military presence in the country.
Michael Bowman
President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are hailing Saturday’s elections in Afghanistan, which are expected to produce the country’s first-ever democratic transfer of power. Although Afghanistan’s next president may not be known for weeks, the Obama administration hopes the new leader will finalize a bilateral security agreement to keep a residual U.S. military presence in the country.
 
Ballot counting continues after Afghans braved threats of violence to go to the polls in record numbers. Presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani said the poll showed one thing.
 
"We have proven that we are people of the ballot, not of the bullets.  The Afghan public appreciates democracy, believes in it and is willing to make it work,” said Ghani.
 
Sporadic complaints of voting irregularities do not appear to have shaken Afghans’ faith in the democratic exercise, said presidential contender Abdullah Abdullah.
 
"We have registered our complaints, we have processed those complaints and referred it to the relevant commission, which is the Independent Election Complaints Commission, and hopefully those complaints will be dealt with duly," said Abdullah.
 
At more than 12 years, the Afghan war is America’s longest.  President Obama pledged to bring it to an end while preserving hard-fought gains in the country.  The administration views a successful transfer of power overseen by increasingly capable Afghan security forces as validation of their surge-and-withdraw strategy.  White House spokesman Josh Earnest spoke of the importance of continued support for Afghanistan.
 
“This is a little bit different than most elections that are conducted in the U.S. in which we find out the results that night or the next day.  But at the same time, we are hopeful that the elections will be peaceful and inclusive and broadly acceptable to the Afghan people.  A stable and acceptable political transition is critical to sustaining international support for Afghanistan,” said Earnest.
 
Unlike outgoing President Hamid Karzai, all Afghan presidential contenders have said they would sign a bilateral security agreement with the United States to keep several thousand military personnel in the country, primarily in a train-and-advise capacity.  Democratic Senator Tim Kaine backs the drawdown of U.S. forces, but says progress must not be squandered.
 
"There have been nearly 2,300 [U.S.] servicemembers who have given their lives in Afghanistan.  And the United States has spent $600 billion in Afghanistan.  While we cannot gloss over the challenges that remain in Afghanistan today and tomorrow, we should remember the progress that has been achieved in 13 years since the Taliban fell in October of 2001," said Kaine.
 
For now, from the White House to Capitol Hill, an almost audible sigh of relief can be heard that Afghanistan’s elections went forward with minimal violence, and that the country appears on track to have a president-elect declared by next month.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: markjuliansmith from: Australia
April 06, 2014 5:48 PM
"US Hails Afghan Elections"

Such hope is wasted on behalf of any Westerner or even the so called moderate Muslim believing 'Democracy' or Western philosophical notions of ‘Freedom’ have arrived in Afghanistan.

As we can see in Turkey and Egypt alone disregarding what the underlying politic in time and space Islam as the foundation cultural ethic informs elsewhere you Change the Architect and Builder or Nothing Changes.

Even if the ‘Democratic’ ballot box survives for a few generations it can and will if Islam remains in the Public Square be a means to enable theocratic tyranny rather than Western notions of liberty with major schism as in Egypt and developing in Turkey.

This is the reality, taking this one ‘hopeful’ sign as reason to celebrate clearly indicates excessive wishful thinking and future bias.

Change the Architect and Builder or Nothing Changes.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid