Washington, D.C., August 7, 2009 – Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) told Voice of America’s (VOA) Afghan Service in an exclusive interview that the upcoming elections are “a moment for Afghans to define their future through the democratic process.”
Responding to criticism of perceived U.S. influence over the August 20th elections, Kerry said, “some people argue that one person or another may have more influence on that, but it’s certainly not the United States.” He added there are a number of international observers in the country and an Afghan independent commission is overseeing the process. “We are helping to make sure that everyone can campaign and that the election process is without fraud. But really [we are] neutral, and I think that’s how it ought to be.”
Kerry also emphasized that the next leader of Afghanistan will need to cooperate with the international community in its efforts to provide economic development, establish security and train the Afghan army. Referring to the destabilizing effects of the narcotics trade and the insurgency, the Senator highlighted a study on the topic which the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will release next week.
The interview will air in two parts on VOA’s Radio Ashna and TV Ashna. Radio Ashna offers eight hours of daily broadcasts in Dari and Pashto on AM, FM and shortwave. TV Ashna broadcasts one hour daily, 30 minutes in Dari and 30 minutes in Pashto. The broadcasts are also carried on local Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) and are available at www.VOANews.com/Dari and www.VOANews.com/Pashto
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.
For more information, please call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail email@example.com.