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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More