Coalition for Afghan Democracy launched in US
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Ahead of the presidential elections, a group of leading foreign policy experts and women's rights advocates has come together to form the Coalition for Afghan Democracy.
"We know that the best way to help turn the page on a new, democratic Afghan future is for the US to play an active and engaged role," said Hamed Wardak, an Afghan-American business owner and the coalition's founder.
The coalition represented a broad range of educated views on Afghanistan, believing that investing in an election that respected the will of the people would be important for Afghanistan's progress toward further democratisation, he said.
One of the major goals of the coalition is to highlight the need for the April election to remain free from interference or tampering by the government of President Hamid Karzai.
Conducting free and fair elections was a critical component of instilling a perception of confidence and legitimacy in the new Afghan government, said Craig Smith, senior advisor to the coalition.
With more than 25 years of experience in developing and executing political strategies at all levels of government, Craig said: "Having worked with numerous post-conflict elections, it is clear to me that the international community should work hard to ensure that the process is credible and fully supported."
Policymakers should also make sure the current government prevented both domestic and international interference in the electoral result, he stressed.
"Like Americans, Afghans pride themselves on their independence. Like Americans, Afghans are struggling in their daily lives due to the decisions of their government. Like Americans, Afghans want to move forward," remarked Matt Griffin, a coalition advisory council member, former US Army Ranger.
"My hope is that these elections are better than last. My hope is that Afghans rally behind what they believe. My hope is for Afghans to know our support for their next steps forward. I support a free, fair, and transparent election in Afghanistan," Griffin concluded.
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