Former governor of northern Balkh province and CEO of Jamiat-e-Islami party Atta Mohammad Noor on Tuesday warned that “if transparency of the elections is not guaranteed, we will boycott the elections.”
Addressing Mazar-e-Sharif residents, during his Eid message, Noor said: “For the last time I am announcing to all friends, who are leaders of the government, to take my words seriously.”
“If you do not bring reforms in all of Afghanistan or major parts of the country and do not accept the demands of the political parties over bringing of changes in the election system or voting system, including a biometric system, we will boycott your election,” he said.
Noor said if their demands are not met and election transparency is not guaranteed the political parties will call for the resignation of government leaders and install an interim government.
He also said the Taliban has benefited from government’s first ceasefire – in June – over Eid al-Fitr.
Although he welcomed efforts being made to bring peace to the country, he said that the June ceasefire enabled Taliban members to infiltrate cities.
Noor claimed that since the end of the Eid ceasefire, on June 29 “over 7,000 Afghan security forces were martyred”.
He said Taliban entered cities during Eid and “they brought weapons with them.”
In the meantime, residents of Balkh welcomed President Ashraf Ghani’s conditional ceasefire announcement and also called on Taliban to renounce violence.
“I wish for peace to come to our country and that we can live peaceful,” Hamidullah, a resident of Mazar said.
Meanwhile, the provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq Qaderi said that “all highways and mosques are under heavy protection by security forces.”
Despite Mazar having been quiet on the first day of Eid-al-Adha, the same could not be said for Kabul.
At about 9am, insurgents launched a rocket attack on the city, also targeting the Presidential Palace, while President Ashraf Ghani was delivering his Eid message.
Half way through his message, the thud of falling rockets could be heard in the background. Ghani interrupted his speech and said: “If they are thinking the rocket attack will keep Afghans down, they are wrong.”
Officials said earlier at least 12 rockets were fired but later stated they had found the remains of at least 20 rockets. Kabul residents said they counted 22.
Security forces sealed off the area from where the rockets were being launched but clashes between insurgents and security forces lasted until about 12 noon.
The attack came just two days after Ghani announced a conditional ceasefire starting Monday with the Taliban.
On Tuesday afternoon the Taliban denied responsibility for the rocket attack.