Taliban vow to attack Afghan elections on polling day

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

Last Updated: Sep 16, 2010, 23:21 PM IST

Kandahar: 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 centers will come under
attack and election workers and security forces will be our
primary targets," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told
a news agency.

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 centers 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 centers and all the roads leading to polling
centers," Mujahid said.

"We will also attack the roads between cities and
districts since election workers and government workers will
be traveling on these roads to get to polling centers," 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.

The militants issued threats last month saying anyone
associated with the vote was a target.

Voting is set to take place at more than 5,800 polling
centers across Afghanistan, though more than 1,000 will not
open because security cannot be guaranteed, according to the
Independent Election Commission.

Those polling centers are in nine districts that
officials have said remain under Taliban control.

The militants have been fighting the Kabul government
since their own brutal five-year regime was overthrown. The
United States and NATO have 150,000 troops in Afghanistan
trying to bring the insurgency to an end.

PTI