The Independent Election Commission (IEC) was able to hold the first Afghan-led elections for over 30 years. In the face of insecurity and threats to its 160,000 staff across Afghanistan, it enabled millions of Afghans to come out and make their voice heard in choosing the future leadership of their country. While there were minor complaints about the quality of some of the materials it used, such as the hole punches to mark the voter cards, the operation overall was well resourced. The UK contributed £16.5 million to the UN basket fund for elections, which included recourses and capacity building for the IEC.
Clearly there are lessons to be learned for future elections. But the processes in place provided for an independent audit of the results that came through the IEC. The audit process, conducted by the Electoral Complaints Commission, in co-operation with the IEC following election day on 20 August, was robust and transparent: flaws in the process were reported, investigated and decided on, and fraudulent ballots removed. Following the conclusion of this process, we are confident that the result of the 2009 presidential elections reflects the will of the Afghan people.