New York

6 April 2014

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Afghanistan

The Secretary-General congratulates the people of Afghanistan on Saturday’s historic Presidential and Provincial Council elections. The elections mark an important step forward in Afghanistan’s first democratic transition of power.

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. The Secretary-General welcomes their momentous achievement. Afghans braved threats and intimidation to exercise their right to vote, and in doing so, they have sent a powerful message that the perpetrators of violence cannot win.

In particular, the Secretary-General notes the strong participation of women in the polls, 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 commends the Afghan national security forces for their professionalism and dedication that enabled citizens to vote on 5 April in the face of serious security threats. He congratulates Afghanistan’s independent electoral institutions and looks forward to their ongoing efforts in ensuring that the final results reflect the will of the voters.

The Secretary-General encourages all Afghans to continue supporting the electoral institutions as they discharge their critical responsibilities fairly, transparently and in the interests of the Afghan people.