Taliban in a statement has warned members of the public to avoid attending election campaign gatherings as they have ordered their fighters to target campaign rallies throughout the country and prevent the “fake” process of elections.
The Afghan presidential election is scheduled for September 28. Eighteen candidates are running for president, including the incumbent President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.
Taliban claims in the statement that the 2014 presidential elections were marred by direct interference by the US and it was brokered by the former US Secretary of State John Kerry while the people’s votes were ignored.
The group says the election in Afghanistan has no legitimacy in the presence of foreign forces in the country.
The group warns the people to void attending election campaign rallies so that they are not harmed because the group “will target the campaign gatherings”.
The group calls on all stakeholders to use their “energy and resources” in supporting “a real peace” in the country so that the peace process is not “affected” at this “sensitive phase”.
The Taliban says in the statement that the fighters of the group have been ordered to stand against the “fake process of election” throughout the country.
A similar warning came from the Taliban in the 2014 presidential election.
This comes a week after the political office of Amrullah Saleh, a running mate for presidential candidate and incumbent President Ashraf Ghani, came under a complex attack in which at least 20 people were killed and more than 50 others wounded.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack.
This also comes as presidential candidate Rahmatullah Nabil said on Monday that one of his campaign rallies in Bagrami district of Kabul was postponed due to possible threats to it.
He called on the government to pay more attention to candidates’ safety.
The Afghan government on July 28 announced a plan for election campaign security and said all resources will be used to ensure the campaign rallies and the electoral process are held in a safe environment.
Responding to the Taliban’s threats to attack political campaign rallies during the presidential election season in Afghanistan, Zaman Sultani, South Asia Researcher at Amnesty International, said in a statement that “these threats demonstrate a chilling disregard for human life."
"At a time when the Taliban claims to be pursuing peace, it is threatening to carry out war crimes by attacking civilians at election rallies," he said. “The Afghan authorities have a responsibility to protect civilians during the election campaign season. The Afghan people must have their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association and freedom of expression respected and protected.”