Taliban vow to attack Afghan elections on polling day

The Taliban vowed on Thursday to launch attacks on Afghanistan’s imminent parliamentary poll, saying election workers and security forces will be the main target.

“All the roads leading to polling centres will come under attack and election workers and security forces will be our primary targets,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told AFP.

More than 2,500 candidates are contesting the election on Saturday for the 249 seats in the lower house of parliament in the second poll of its kind since the Taliban were ousted from power in a 2001 US-led invasion.

“Civilians are not our target because we support local people and we have local support,” he said, speaking by telephone from an undisclosed location.

“But if people go to polling centres they will get hurt.”

The militants have already killed three candidates and dozens of election workers in the lead-up to the poll.

“We have repeatedly asked civilians and we again ask them to avoid election centres and all the roads leading to polling centres,” Mujahid said.

“We will also attack the roads between cities and districts since election workers and government workers will be travelling on these roads to get to polling centres,” he said.

The Taliban in an earlier emailed statement called on Afghans to boycott Saturday’s poll.

“We call on our Muslim nation to boycott this process and thus foil all foreign processes and drive away the invaders from your country by sticking to jihad and Islamic resistance,” it said.