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Upcoming elections important for Afghanistan’s future

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Afghanistan’s upcoming elections are important to the war-torn country’s future, Fort Hood’s top general officer said from Kabul on Thursday.

Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, briefed the media on the progress in Afghanistan, citing the April 5 election as an important moment for the country.

Up to 20 million of the country’s estimated 30 million residents are registered to vote, he said.

Of those registered, 76 percent of them said very likely or likely to vote in upcoming election.

“I can tell you from polls, from intelligence, from things like the loya jirga — grand assembly of tribal elders — from people registering to vote, etc., that the people of Afghanistan reject the Taliban,” said Milley, who is deployed with the Phantom Corps, serving as the commander of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command since May.

As the second in command, he oversees NATO operations across the country.

“Most people in Afghanistan are better off today than in the last 40 years,” he said.

A senior ISAF Joint Command official, who asked not to be named for security reasons, said he sees efforts among the Afghan National Security Force to prepare for the elections.

“They are taking every opportunity to do it themselves,” he said.

“The Afghan police, army and other institutions are going to secure elections.”

rthayer@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7463 |@KDHmilitary

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

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