This is a pivotal moment after more than a decade of sacrifice and struggle. When millions of Afghan men and women go to the polls on April 5 to choose a new President, it could mark Afghanistan's first democratic transition of power, and we all have a stake in seeing that milestone achieved.
The United States has proudly supported Afghanistan's electoral and security institutions. But make no mistake: this is Afghanistan's moment. These elections have been Afghan-owned from the start. The Afghan people have planned and prepared for this historic vote. The Afghan people are staffing and leading the electoral institutions. And the Afghan people are dedicated to protecting and advancing their own democracy.
The United States encourages the presidential candidates, their supporters, and election officials to abide by the laws and regulations governing the elections. By committing to an inclusive, fair, and transparent process, Afghanistan's leaders will contribute to an outcome that is broadly accepted by Afghans and that strengthens the unity of the country and its democratic future.
The peaceful handover of power will be just as important as the progress achieved over the past decade in building a stronger, more secure and prosperous Afghanistan. It will help protect the gains in security and development over the last 12 years. Above all, it will stand as a powerful legacy of those who have sacrificed so much, including those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, to make this election possible.
The United States is ready to work with the next president, and we look forward to an enduring partnership with the Afghan people, consistent with our shared democratic values and interests.