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US leads praise for 'courageous' Afghans in landmark vote

Published on Apr 6, 2014 1:15 PM
An Afghan election worker shows a ballot to the elections observers while counting the votes after a polling station was closed for voting in the north-western city of Herat on April 5, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 

KABUL (AFP) - The United States and the UN have praised the "courage" of Afghan people who turned out in force for presidential elections, despite Taleban threats against the vote which passed off largely peacefully.

Afghan voters formed long lines outside polling stations on Saturday to pick a successor to President Hamid Karzai, with a final turnout expected to exceed 50 percent - outstripping expectations.

US President Barack Obama congratulated the nation on the ballot - its first democratic transfer of power - and said it was "critical" to its future and securing continued international aid.

"Millions of Afghan men and women took to the polls today with courage and commitment," US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.

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