Polls a step forward in power transfer: Ban

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The UN secretary-general on Sunday congratulated Afghans for the successful conduct of elections, noting the polls marked an important step forward in first democratic transition of power in the country.

His spokesperson quoted Ban Ki-moon as saying: “The millions of women and men who cast their ballots are a testament to the courage and the commitment of Afghans to exercise their rights and shape their future.”

While welcoming the momentous achievement, he said the Afghans braved threats and intimidation to exercise their right to vote, and in doing so, they had sent a powerful message that the perpetrators of violence could not win.

Ban noted the strong participation of women as elections workers, observers, candidates and, above all, as voters – another step forward for Afghan women in taking their rightful place in society and having a say in their country’s future on an equal basis with Afghan men.

The secretary-general commended security forces for their professionalism and dedication that enabled citizens to vote in the face of serious security threats. He also congratulated Afghanistan’s independent electoral institutions.

He encourages all Afghans to continue supporting the electoral institutions as they discharged their critical responsibilities fairly, transparently and in the interest of the Afghan people.