August 21st, 2009 11:03 EST
UN Praises Historic Afghan Elections
UN NEWS CENTRE
21 August 2009 " The United Nations Security Council has welcomed the holding of Afghanistan`s historic " presidential and provincial council elections, while condemning the actions of those who sought to disrupt the 20 August polls.
The members of the Council reiterate the importance of these elections as Afghanistan, working together with other members of the international community, continues to make progress towards its goals and congratulate the people of Afghanistan on their participation in these historic elections, " the 15-member body said in a statement issued to the press yesterday.
At the same time, the Council condemned the actions of those who sought to deny the voice of the Afghan people by attempting to disrupt the elections, " as well as the violent and terrorist activities by the Taliban, Al-Qaida and other extremist groups aimed at destabilizing the situation in the country.
Yesterday`s elections, the first to be organized by the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC), were also hailed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who congratulated the country`s citizens for exercising their right to vote and paid tribute to all those who made the largely peaceful polls possible.
Mr. Ban`s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Kai Eide, said he was pleased with the way the country`s elections took place, and noted that there had not been as much violence as had been expected.
Overall, 20 August 2009 has been a good day for Afghanistan, " he told reporters in Kabul after the polls closed, adding that the fact that the elections took place across the country was an achievement for the Afghan people.
Security had been a major concern, with several attacks in the days leading up to the elections, including Tuesday`s blast in Kabul which claimed the lives of two UN staffers and at least five others.
The final results of the elections will be announced by the IEC in the coming days.