Austria contributed to smooth running of elections
Vienna, 19 September - Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik has welcomed the parliamentary and provincial elections in Afghanistan on 18 September as "an import step by the country towards democracy and stability".
Plassnik declared that the elections were generally peaceful and added: "This is all the more gratifying in view of the fact that the elections were held under very difficult conditions and terrorist groups had attempted to disrupt them through targeted acts of violence. As in the presidential elections in October 2004, the people of Afghanistan have once again expressed a clear vote for democracy and peace. The electorate, particularly Afghani women, who were involved in the elections at all levels, are to be congratulated for their great courage."
The Foreign Minister said that the encouraging course also confirmed the efforts of the international community, which had provided considerable organisational and financial support to Afghanistan in the holding the elections. She pointed out that Austria had helped to ensure that the elections ran smoothly by seconding 93 soldiers to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). "Austria also provided financial support for the election process in Afghanistan and had four observers in the EU Election Observation Mission," said Plassnik.