20 Sep 2010

US cautiously optimistic over Afghan elections

7:33 pm on 20 September 2010

The United States ambassador in Kabul has given a cautiously optimistic assessment of Afghanistan's latest parliamentary elections.

Karl Eikenberry, who previously has been reported to have raised questions about America's overall Afghan strategy, says he is hopeful about the future.

Mr Eikenberry said lessons had been learned from what he called the "flawed presidential elections of 2009".

He said there were irregularities this time, but pointed out that Afghanistan's electoral institutions now had better leadership and procedures, the BBC reports.

Afghan security forces had, in his view, made a quantum step forward in their ability to secure the country.

However, in an interview with the BBC he cautioned that the hard part was now starting.