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 .
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