Afghans have widely hailed the elections as a success. Much of the credit for this rightly goes to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), who for the first time, were in total control of election security.
During a press conference on election night in Kabul, election and security officials credited the security forces with keeping order in the country and making it possible for millions of Afghans to vote.
Many Wolesi Jirga members lauded the security forces for their duties on election day and urged that parliament must honour them because they were the reason that people came out to vote. “The parliament administrative board will undertake necessary measures to invite Minister of Interior, Minister of Defence and NDS chief to the house so that we can honour the endeavours of the Afghan security forces during elections,” Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi assured the members.
A free media advocacy organisation also praised Afghan security forces for protecting voters on election day. NAI Director Sadiqullah Tawhidi hailed Afghan forces for ensuring security, saying the forces had spent rainy nights in the open to protect election sites and enable people to cast votes in a peaceful environment.
Elsewhere in the country, several ceremonies were held to praise the ANSF, and organisers presented flowers and certificates of merit to the security personnel.
In Kabul, Rawand 3 (Trend 3), a civil society organisation, offered Afghan flags and flowers to members of the security forces. “Afghanistan will never forget the bravery and courage of the Afghan security forces during the election process,” the group’s chief, Ahmad Rashad Mangavary, told Sada-e Azadi.
In Helmand, provincial leaders have been united in their admiration of the ANSF. “I want to praise our security forces, “said Governor Mohammad Naeem. “This election was an outstanding success. Nobody can stop Afghans from exercising our constitutional right to determine our own future.”
In Herat, to show their appreciation, government and civil society representatives, women, elders, and mullahs thanked the security forces in a parade ceremony. Najibullah Mohammadi, a resident of Herat said, “With the passage of a secure election, people are very satisfied with the capabilities of the ANSF. Now we have become optimistic for our future.”
Mawlawi Akhundzada, a well-known religious scholar in Herat, said. “You [ANSF] did your duty in the best way a country can ask, it was your dedication, commitment and professionalism that resulted in a peaceful environment.”
Maria Bashir, the provincial attorney, presented certificates to the ANSF on behalf of women. “You proved that you defend women’s rights. All mothers and sisters pray for you to be successful in your duty,” she said.
In Kandahar province, thousands queued patiently and safely to fulfil their democratic right. “I never voted before,” said Zarghona, a Kandahari woman. “In this election, our security was so good that I wanted to exercise my right to vote. I am thankful to our security forces for ensuring such a great event happened peacefully.”
Fatana Hasanzada, a civil society activist in Mazar-e Sharif, was also proud of the ANSF, “The Afghan security forces have proven to be capable of maintaining security, as we witnessed during the elections.”
Baghlan Governor Sultan Mohammad Abadi, on behalf of the people said, “We are thankful to the security personnel for the outstanding duty performed during the elections.”
Ajmal Nekmal, a resident of Jalalabad, told Sada-e Azaidi, “The security forces have proved that they have the ability to ensure the safety of the people. Good security will pave the way for development.”
In Paktika, provincial council members, as well as youth and civil society organisations also held a ceremony to show their admiration for the security forces. A member of the provincial council, Nawab Waziri, said, “The ANSF completely fulfilled its responsibility during the elections by creating a safe environment.”
The ceremony ended with civil society’s activist, Khurshid Aman, presenting the traditional Afghan headgear “lungi” to the police officers as a token of honour.