H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani makes a presentation on the 5 April
elections in Afghanistan, at the Asian Contact Group meeting of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
Ambassador Erfani today gave a comprehensive
presentation at the 2 nd meeting of OSCE’s Asian Contact Group in 2014, on
tomorrow’s presidential and provincial council elections. He stressed the historical
significance of the vote, in light of the 2014 transition and the upcoming decade of
transformation 2015-2024, calling the elections “a major opportunity to strengthen
our young democracy”.
The Ambassador thanked the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human
Rights (ODIHR) for once again deploying an election support team to Afghanistan.
H.E. Erfani also highlighted the crucial role of local and international civil society
and media, with around 265,000 observers, agents and reporters serving as
election watchdogs. In this context, H.E. Erfani stated that he takes pride in the
thriving, independent and free media landscape in the country: “There are now 75
TV channels, 175 radio stations and hundreds of print publications and blogs in
Afghanistan, which are giving the election campaigns wall-to-wall coverage,
including televised debates, and positively affecting our perception of a vibrant
The women and the young of Afghanistan play a role of particular importance in
tomorrow’s elections: “Without the full and equal participation of women, we will
never have a stable Afghanistan, and their empowerment is essential for the
education and well-being of Afghanistan’s youth”, the Ambassador stated. At the
same time, women will be facing more challenges than anybody else during these
elections. 350,000 national and international security forces will secure the almost
6,500 polling centers throughout the country, responding to threats by the Taliban
and other terrorist groups to disrupt and sabotage the elections. H.E. Ayoob Erfani
emphasized that “this is a historic moment for the people of
Afghanistan, witnessing the first-ever democratic transfer of power.” He thanked
the United States, Japan and other present partners of Afghanistan for their
tireless efforts and generous contributions with regard to electoral processes,
while expressing his deepest grief for their sacrifices and giving his condolences for
the loss of a German journalist killed in an attack earlier today.
In conclusion, H.E. Erfani underlined that these elections are going to happen and
that the Afghan people remain undeterred by threats because their strong desire
to have their say on the future of the country outweighs their concerns. The
Afghan people are unified in their wish for a better Afghanistan, which is precisely
what they deserve.
In reply to the presentation by Ambassador Erfani, a number of OSCE participating
and partner countries including Greece (on behalf of the European Union), the
United States, Canada, Turkey, Australia and Japan reiterated their support for the
5 April elections, a milestone in the history of Afghanistan.