The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan is tasked with supporting provincial council and presidential elections in April. The elections come as Afghan national forces take on more security responsibilities as international forces prepare for a drawdown next year.
Jan Kubis, U.N. special envoy for Afghanistan, said he was impressed with election preparations so far.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai backed election laws in a July decree. Members of an independent election commission were appointed earlier this month. Karzai can't run for president next year because of term limits.
Kubis said that means 2014 will mark the first time power is transferred from one elected government to another in Afghanistan's history. Candidates vying for top positions in Afghanistan need to look to the country's new face of democracy as they head toward the campaign season, he added.
"I hope to see discussions more around substantive issues determining the future of the country rather than just individuals," Kubis said in a statement Thursday.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]