American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 5, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued a statement praising the millions of Afghans who voted today for their next president.
"I want to commend the millions of Afghans who went to the polls today to vote for their next president,” Hagel said in the statement. “The open and responsible debate among the candidates over the past two months, and the turnout for these elections, demonstrates to the world that the Afghan people want to determine their own future.”
Hagel also commended the Afghan National Security Forces “for providing the security which enabled these elections to take place.”
And, the secretary thanked U.S. forces and International Security Assistance Force personnel for supporting Afghanistan’s security forces.
Hagel said he greatly appreciated Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the ISAF commander, for his “steady leadership throughout this process.”
Much has been achieved in Afghanistan, the secretary said.
"As Afghanistan begins a peaceful transfer of power, and we look ahead to the end of our combat mission later this year, we should not lose sight of how much we have accomplished,” Hagel said. “The progress we have seen in Afghanistan is a testament to the tireless efforts and sacrifices of American, ISAF, and Afghan personnel.
“But above all,” he continued, “it shows the strength and resilience of the Afghan people, and of the partnership the United States has built with them.
“It is a partnership that will endure," the secretary said.