Gen. David H. Petraeus, ISAF commander, meets the principal of Malalay Girls School in Kabul while visiting polling stations. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Lorie Jewell)
KABUL, Afghanistan (Sept. 18, 2010) — The commander of international forces in Afghanistan and the NATO senior civilian representative today praised those who participated in, organized and secured the nation’s parliamentary elections.
“The people of Afghanistan sent a powerful message today,” said Gen. David Petraeus, ISAF commander. “The voice of Afghanistan’s future does not belong to the violent extremists and terror networks. It belongs to the people.”
Gen. Petraeus also stated, “I commend, in particular, the Afghan National Security Forces, who performed so bravely today in safeguarding a weapon with greater potential than any other - the people’s right to vote and to have a say in the future of their country. It was an honor on this day, especially, for NATO ISAF forces to support our Afghan partners. We also salute the Afghan Electoral Commission personnel, the team of experts from the U.N., and the Afghan and international observers for their contributions in the preparation for and the conduct of today’s elections.”
“Today’s elections have once again shown that the people of Afghanistan want the chance to elect their leaders,” said Ambassador Mark Sedwill, NATO senior civilian representative to Afghanistan. “For NATO, ISAF and our Afghan partners it’s clear that the future of Afghanistan remains one where violence cannot overthrow the democratic will of the people. NATO stands firm in its support to Afghanistan and in its shared fight against terrorism and extremism that seeks to destroy the successes of the past nine years.”
Today’s elections are the first parliamentary elections planned, organized and managed by Afghans since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Security for the elections was led by Afghan National Security Forces with support from ISAF.