The US-led international community on Saturday greeted Afghans on the historic elections, promising continued partnership with the new government on the basis of mutual respect.
US President Barack Obama said that his administration looked forward to continuing to have partnership with the new government. “The United States continues to support a sovereign, stable, unified and democratic Afghanistan.”
On behalf of the American people, he congratulated the millions of Afghans who enthusiastically participated in the historic elections, which promise to usher in the first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan’s history.
The polls represented another important milestone in Afghans taking full responsibility for their country as the United States and its partners draw down forces, said the president.
Obama commended Afghan people, security forces, and elections officials on the turnout. “These elections are critical to securing Afghanistan’s democratic future, as well as continued international support...”
In a televised message late Saturday night, Karzai said: "Today´s election and massive participation of the people have taken Afghanistan a few steps forward to peace, stability and development."
US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the turnout demonstrated how committed people of the country were to protect democracy. “The fierce determination of the millions of voters undeterred by violence and threats of violence has been remarkable,” Kerry said in a statement.
The US remained ready to work with the next president of Afghanistan and would continue to stand with the people as they work to build a democratic future, the secretary continued.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel commended the Afghan forces in successfully conducting the presidential elections in the country. "The Afghan National Security Forces should be commended for providing the security which enabled these elections to take place.”
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen also lauded the enthusiasm of voters and the outstanding job by Afghan security forces. "This has truly been an election led by Afghans, secured by Afghans, for the future of Afghans."
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) praised the vote as a success that clearly demonstrated the Afghan people had chosen their future of progress and opportunity.
Afghan forces provided the opportunity for the people to choose their new president, securing over 6,200 polling centers across the country. Soldiers and policemen confidently patrolled the cities and countryside to protect civilians and prevent insurgents from disrupting elections.
“The people of Afghanistan can be proud of their security forces,” said General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., ISAF commander. “For months, they’ve conducted planning and security operations to ensure that the conditions were set for inclusive elections.
“What we saw today as a result of that effort was extraordinary. In addition to their physical performance, what equally impresses me is the sense of responsibility and determination they had in ensuring the Afghan people had a secure environment in which to vote and determine their own future.”
A top American lawmaker called for ensuring that votes be counted fairly, and said the election offered a chance for a fresh start with a new president. At the same time he expressed fear that the corruption in the country would not be eliminated.
"After years of sacrifice by our troops and families, today's elections in Afghanistan are welcome. For the first time in its modern history, Afghans are voting for a presidential successor,” said Congressman Ed Royce, chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The Foreign Office in Islamabad hailed the democratic exercise as a milestone. The Afghans braved the security threat and inclement weather and turned out in millions to exercise their right to choose future leadership, it added.
“We wish the Afghan electoral institutions well as they take the next key steps in ensuring the successful completion of the electoral process. Like always, the people of Pakistan stand in strong solidarity with the Afghan nation at this historic moment, and as it moves forward in its peaceful democratic transition.”
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China hoped Afghanistan’s presidential election would be a new start for the country’ s unity and stability. As Afghanistan’s friendly neighbour, China respects the Afghan people’s choice, the Xinhua news agency quoted a Hong as saying in a statement.
China noticed the election was generally smooth and hoped relevant sides in Afghanistan would properly handle differences through dialogue so as to realise broad-based and inclusive peace and reconciliation at an early date.
Canada said the Afghans had demonstrated their commitment to a democratic future. It praised the Afghan people for courageously taking to the polls in high numbers, exercising their right to vote.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said welcomed reports of an unprecedented number of Afghan women who ensured that their voices were heard. “We support their desire for a brighter and stable future,” he said in a statement.