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US leads praise for 'courageous' Afghans in landmark vote

The United States and the UN have praised the "courage" of Afghan people who turned out in force for presidential elections, despite Taliban 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.

Afghan election 'great achievement'

The presidential election in Afghanistan is a "great achievement", Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said Saturday, as he urged parties to show "patience and respect" during the count. "This is an historic moment for Afghanistan and its people," Hague said in a statement. "It is a great achievement for the Afghan people that so many voters, men and women, young and old, have turned out in such large numbers, despite threats of violence, to have their say in the country's future."

Afghans hail peaceful election, high turnout predicted

Afghans celebrated a largely peaceful election on Saturday, as turnout exceeded predictions despite Taliban threats to disrupt the vote to choose President Hamid Karzai's successor. Long queues of voters waited throughout the day outside many of the 6,400 polling centres before the prolonged process of counting began, with preliminary results not due until April 24. Whoever emerges victorious must lead the fight against the Taliban without the help of US-led combat troops, and also strengthen an economy that currently relies on declining aid money.

AP reporter shot while working in Afghanistan is in stable condition, receiving medical care

KABUL - An Canadian Associated Press correspondent shot and wounded while covering preparations for elections in Afghanistan was in stable condition Saturday and receiving medical treatment at a military hospital in Kabul. Kathy Gannon, 60, a senior correspondent for Afghanistan and Pakistan, suffered three gunshot wounds in the attack Friday that killed AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus in the eastern city of Khost. Gannon was expected to be transferred to a hospital out of the country in coming days.

Obama hails 'critical' Afghan vote

US President Barack Obama welcomed the completion of Afghanistan's presidential vote, set to usher in the country's first democratic transfer of power, saying it was critical to ensure more international support. Afghan voters lined up outside polling stations en masse -- with a final turnout expected to exceed 50 percent, or seven million -- to pick a successor to President Hamid Karzai for the first time since the US-led invasion in 2001.

Obama hails 'critical' Afghan vote

US President Barack Obama welcomed the completion of Afghanistan's presidential vote, set to usher in the country's first democratic transfer of power, saying it was critical to ensure continued international support. Masses of Afghan voters lined up outside polling stations -- with a final turnout election officials say could exceed 50 percent -- to pick a successor to President Hamid Karzai for the first time since the US-led invasion in 2001.

Baird praises Afghans after high elections turnout, especially women

OTTAWA - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says Afghans have demonstrated their commitment to a democratic future, and now a new government must demonstrate that commitment as well. Baird commented after Afghans defied a threat of Taliban violence and flocked to polling stations on Saturday in numbers so high that some centres ran out of ballots, and others stayed open late. Baird noted that an unprecedented number of Afghan women turned out.<

Baird praises Afghans after high elections turnout, especially women

OTTAWA - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says Afghans have demonstrated their commitment to a democratic future, and now a new government must demonstrate that commitment as well. Baird commented after Afghans defied a threat of Taliban violence and flocked to polling stations on Saturday in numbers so high that some centres ran out of ballots, and others stayed open late. Baird noted that an unprecedented number of Afghan women turned out.<

Afghans hail peaceful election, high turnout predicted

Afghans celebrated a largely peaceful election on Saturday, as turnout exceeded predictions despite Taliban threats to disrupt the vote to choose President Hamid Karzai's successor. Long queues of voters waited throughout the day outside many of the 6,400 polling centres before the prolonged process of counting began, with preliminary results not due until April 24. Whoever emerges victorious must lead the fight against the Taliban without the help of US-led combat troops, and also strengthen an economy reliant on declining aid money.

Afghans voters defy Taliban threats as US troops exit

Afghan voters turned out in large numbers Saturday, braving Taliban threats, to choose a successor to President Hamid Karzai in the country's first democratic transfer of power as US-led forces wind down their 13-year war. Long queues formed outside polling stations in cities across the country, despite cold, wet weather, as voters cast their ballots at around 6,000 centres under tight security.
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