Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on the presidential and provincial elections in Afghanistan: 

"After years of sacrifice by our troops and families, today's elections in Afghanistan are welcome.  For the first time in its modern history, Afghans are voting for a presidential successor. The election is on time, relatively peaceful, and significantly, has Afghan institutions in the lead.  In the face of Taliban threats, Afghans, many of them young people and women, walked many miles to vote.  Ballots must be tallied fairly. 

“Afghans are and must chart their own future, confronting the daunting challenges that remain for their country. Afghanistan's systemic corruption won't be wiped away in one ballot. 

“Most importantly, the election offers the chance for a fresh start with a new president. The Karzai government was a case study in how not to win international support.  The new Afghan leaders must work to fight government corruption, counter Taliban influence, and engage with the U.S. and other nations committed to a stable Afghanistan.  But only Afghans can create a new and better era."