Election Day is over in Afghanistan, and the counting of votes begins. It will several weeks before the final tally is in and the winners declared. But the people of Afghanistan have courageously taken another step in strengthening their self-determination and governing their country.
The Taliban swore to disrupt the elections, but the elections went on as planned. Despite the intimidation and outright violence, millions of Afghans turned out, displaying a tremendous courage and resolve to vote. And by doing so, they showed a remarkable determination to move their nation past the point of no return to the tyrannical regime of the past and toward a more democratic future.
"The United States congratulates the people of Afghanistan for carrying out fully Afghan-led parliamentary elections under extremely difficult circumstances - the first Afghan-led Parliamentary elections since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Millions of courageous men and women went to the polls and exercised their democratic right to vote," said the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in a written statement.
"...Protected by competent and brave Afghan National Security Forces, the voters demonstrated their courage, choosing to take ownership of their future and shape their government. Our sympathies are with those who were injured or killed during the campaign period and in the Taliban attacks that took place.
"The results and quality of the election will not be immediately evident, and the United States will support the Afghan independent electoral institutions as they do their work in the coming weeks, including carrying out thorough measures to detect and adjudicate fraud.
"The United States continues to support an Afghan-led electoral process that is free, credible and transparent in the eyes of the Afghan people. The Afghan people will be the ultimate judge of today's success."