"As Afghanistan begins a peaceful transfer of power, and we look ahead to the end of our combat mission later this year, we should not lose sight of how much we have accomplished," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a statement.
In praising the efforts and sacrifices of American, International Security Assistance Force and Afghan personnel and the progress that followed, Hagel said: "Above all, it shows the strength and resilience of the Afghan people, and of the partnership the United States has built with them. It is a partnership that will endure."
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the election "an important step in the first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan's history."
"But today's election did not come without significant sacrifice — the sacrifice of the Afghan people and many Americans and service members from partner nations who have been killed and wounded fighting there since 2001," Dempsey said in a statement. "We look forward to the outcome of the elections and the opportunity to continue to work together, with a willing partner, for a better Afghanistan."