Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, July 20th, 2019

Taliban Vows To Disrupt the Upcoming Election


Taliban Vows To Disrupt the Upcoming Election

Last Monday, the Taliban militants broke their silence on the upcoming parliamentary elections, warning that they would seek to disrupt the vote 20 election. While in past elections, the Taliban immediately issued warnings that they would disrupt the contests and targeted voters and candidates. The new stance of Taliban is simultaneous as Washington has once again pressed Islamabad to force the Taliban leaders in Pakistan into entering in peace talks with the government Kabul. The US Central Command chief was quoted as asking Pakistan to de-link the Taliban leaders...
Meanwhile, the Taliban’s warning cams as US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met Afghan leaders to discuss ways of ending the 17-year-old war in the country. the warning was issued just hours after Khalilzad met President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah.  Khalilzad is on a 10-day swing through the region, now in Pakistan then the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to drum up support for US-Taliban negotiations.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s office said in a statement that Khalilzad met with the president and other top leaders to discuss “an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.” Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah also welcomed the visit by Afghanistan-born Khalilzad in televised remarks on Monday. “We believe if more attention is paid to the peace process, there will be a good chance of success.” On the contrary, Zahid Hussain, a Pakistani defense analyst and author of two books on militancy in the region, earlier said the appointment of Khalilzad as a special adviser in Afghanistan could complicate his job. “He has been very critical of Pakistan in the past and his appointment will not help move things forward.”
Claiming that the elections are conspiracies of the west and the United States, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement on that the militants would pull no punches to disrupt the fake process. “The Islamic Emirate instructs all its Mujahidin to halt this American led process throughout the country by creating severe obstacles for it, while taking extensive and intensive care of civilian Afghan lives and their properties.” “People who are trying to help in holding this process successfully should be targeted and no stone should be left unturned for the prevention and failure” of the election, Mujahid said.  Elsewhere in the statement, Mujahid described the polls as a “malicious American conspiracy” against Afghanistan.
They also warn candidates that their actions are only empowering the American-led conspiracy. The Taliban tells candidates that “our creed, country” and “people” cannot “be served under the shadow of foreign occupying forces.” “Instead, your nomination and success directly supports the vicious objectives of American invaders by legitimizing their bogus procedures and conspiracies, which is indeed supporting them in killing the pious Muslims and destroying the country by extending the ongoing war,” the Taliban says. “Therefore you should refrain from participating in this process due to your Afghan identity and perception.”
The Taliban exaggerates the amount of territory under its control, claiming that “more than half of the country” is currently under its command while it has “strong influence in the remaining areas.” It is said that the group does currently contest or control more than half of the country, but much of this terrain isn’t under its total dominion. The Taliban argues that given its broad territorial presence, the elections will be held “only in provincial centers,” but erroneously adds that the “activities of election and complaints commission will be directly monitored by the American ambassador and the final lists of candidates will be prepared by him.”
On the contraray, the government and election commission are trying hard to ensure people and political parties that everything will be good and a timely election with all standards will be held in a secure atmosphere. The deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, Nusrat Rahimi, told reporters last week that “54 thousand defense and security forces are assigned to secure 5,100 polling centers which included 21,000 polling stations on Election Day.”
The  IEC officials also ensure the transperancy of the upcoming election process. “Using the biometric system in the Election Day is imminent,” Hafizullah Hashemi, a member of IEC said. There were many criticisms over the training process of electoral employees to use the biometric technology, but IEC officials emphasize that about 2000 people have been trained so far. “The transferring process of biometric devices has been started to Nooristan, Urozgan, Badakhshan, Faryab, Ghor and Paktia,” Hashemi added. Overall, 22,000 biometric units received yet and has started sending them to provinces. The commission is installing local languages into the devices before sending them to provinces. The biometric units would be installed at more than 5,000 polling centers across the country on Election Day.
Overall, the government and election commission should farther consider all these threats before the election day reaches. They need to hold comprehensive dialogues with the political parties, civil society figures, tribal elders and other influential people to collect their viewpoints on how to protect the people and ensure holding a successful election.  Otherwise, the Taliban warning could further raise the alarm about election security as more than 2,000 polling sites have already been shut because of violence. In fact, government and election commissions are on eve of a national and international exams; In order to pass it successfully there are needs for tens and thousands of security forces to be deployed and protect the election process and people throughout the country.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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