Today U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, released the following statement on the Committee's passage of a resolution on the upcoming elections in Afghanistan:
"Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee sent a clear message to the Government of Afghanistan, by agreeing to S.Res.151. In parallel with preparations for troop withdrawal, Afghanistan is set to hold elections in April 2014. The resolution acknowledges President Karzai's declared intention to hand over power, and that a transparent, credible and inclusive election process will be a key determinant of long-term stability in the country. If Afghans do not have confidence in the integrity of the election process and the results, disaffected factions could again turn to violence to express their political views, as we saw in the 1990s.
Next week, international donors will meet to assess whether Afghanistan is meeting the commitment it made in Tokyo last year, to develop a consensus-based electoral framework. This resolution sends a strong message that the U.S. supports a transparent, credible, inclusive, and Afghan-led election process. After investing more than $89 billion in Afghanistan's development, we are resolved not to provide funding for another bad election in Afghanistan.
Further, the resolution highlights the plight of Afghan women in the electoral process. The Constitutional and legal provisions that protect the quota for women's participation in local and national government must be sustained in any new electoral law. These quotas help to protect the tremendous gains Afghan women have made in the past decade, and Afghan leaders should not treat them as bargaining chips. For these elections to be truly credible, women must be at the table during every step of the process.
I am grateful to the Senators who joined me in co-sponsoring this resolution and urge the Senate to pass it expeditiously."