For Immediate Release
October 14, 2004
From remarks by Secretary of State Powell in an interview with Al-Hurra, 10/12/04
Many people said that Afghanistan was incapable of having free, democratic elections because that was inconsistent with its history. But look what happened: People lined up at 3 am; crossed a river where the bridge was destroyed by the Taliban; and stood barefoot in the snow to vote.
The people of Afghanistan showed the world that democracy applies anywhere in the world where people are given the opportunity to practice it.
The Afghan people made elections happen by registering in so many numbers: 10 million registered in Afghanistan, and hundreds of thousands registered in Pakistan and Iran.
Along with the Afghan people themselves, many others helped elections happen, including the UN, the International Security Assistance Force, the United States, and the coalition.
The same thing can happen in Iraq, although they are fighting the insurgents and terrorists. The people of Iraq want the same thing the people of Afghanistan want: the opportunity to decide who will lead them.
The Taliban and al-Qaida said they would stop the election in Afghanistan, but people there said they would vote. The same can happen in Iraq.
The elections in Afghanistan and Iraq help the war on terror because success keeps terrorists from finding fertile ground there.