(0408 WN M02) UN CONGRATULATES AFGHANS ON ELECTIONS

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As millions of Afghans voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday has congratulated them on for participating in this "historic" elections.

Ban said it was "an important step forward in Afghanistan's first democratic transition of power."

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Issued by his spokesperson, Ban said that Afghans braved threats and intimidation to vote had sent a powerful message that the perpetrators of violence cannot win.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): FARHAN HAQ, The Deputy UN Spokesman
"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."

Ban noted particularly the strong participation of women in the polls.

He also commended the Afghan national security forces for their dedication that enabled citizens to vote in face of security threats.

The polling for Afghanistan's presidential election was held on Saturday in a largely peaceful manner despite some attacks and complaints.
Video provided by Xinhua News Agency
Producer : Xinhua News Agency

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