Afghans came out in the millions to vote for the country’s second democratically elected president on Saturday.
Seven million of the country’s 13 million eligible voters braved threats from the Taliban in a runoff between former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. Sixty-two percent of voters were men, while 38 percent were women; 323 of the 6,000 countrywide polling stations ran out of ballots by the early afternoon, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The election was not without violence. Fifty people were killed in attacks mostly in rural areas. Eleven police officers and 20 soldiers were killed fighting insurgents intent on disrupting the election. Attackers used bombs and rockets in some attacks, including in Kabul, where security was its tightest.
Afghan Interior Minister: 11 policemen, 15 army soldiers, 20 civilians, and 60 Taliban insurgents were killed in the #Runoff Election 2day
— Hamid Shalizi (@HamidShalizi) June 14, 2014
The White House congratulated Afghanistan on the election and affirmed it was committed to supporting the country.
“We look forward to working with the next government chosen by the Afghan people,” the White House statement said. “As the president said when he reaffirmed our continuing commitment to Afghanistan beyond 2014, while the future of Afghanistan must be decided by Afghans, the United States will support the Afghan people as they continue the hard work of building a democracy.”
Outgoing president Hamid Karzai also congratulated Afghan voters and expressed his condolences for the families of those killed.
Abdullah won 45 percent of the vote and Ghani 33 percent in the first round of elections in April. The winner of the election is expected to be announced sometime in early July.