Reactions to Taliban warning of attacking election campaigns

By: Lailuma Noori

Recent statement of the Taliban group that has warned to target election campaigns has faced with wave of reactions in both national and international levels.
Presidential Office, chief executive office, Independent Election Commission, presidential candidates and Amnesty International have asked the Taliban to stop threatening innocent civilians and respect the upcoming presidential elections as a national process.
Independent Election Commission (IEC) by expressing concern over the statement of the Taliban says as a civil and national process, presidential elections will be held on its exact time and armed opponent groups should support it, instead of warning.
“Election is a national and social process owned by the Afghan people. IEC is committed to holding timely presidential elections; therefore, all parties to the conflict are asked to cooperate with IEC in holding the election,” said Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi, a spokesperson to the Independent Election Commission.
Meanwhile, presidential office has considered threatening the elections as threatening the people of Afghanistan, saying that selection of the future president through a direct voting process is the legal and lawful right of the people.
“We’re asking the Taliban group who are apparently busy in peace negotiations and raise the slogan of peace, but in action they threatening the people of Afghanistan on the daily basis to stop threatening the people,” said Sediq Sediqi, spokesperson to President Ghani.
Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah also condemned Taliban’s warning to disrupt the next month presidential election, asking people to exercise their right to enfranchise.
He said contesting the presidential election and participation in the process was the basic right of the citizens as mentioned in the Constitution.
Abdullah said the Afghans would vote on September 28 according to schedule announced by the election commissions to elect the leader of the country.
“We ask the people to participate widely in the presidential election as they did in the past and neutralized the enemies’ heinous plans,” he recalled.
The CEO also asked Afghan security forces to bring into use all resources with them to ensure security of people during the election and not let enemies of the country to stop the process.
Responding to the Taliban’s threats to attack political campaign rallies during the presidential election season in Afghanistan, Zaman Sultani, Amnesty International’s South Asia Researcher, said:
“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.
“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.”
Presidential elections campaigns have received warning by the Taliban group after the IEC chairperson Hawa Alam Nooristani asked the group last week not to target election campaigns and voting centers and given chance to the people to make use of their right for selection their future president.
Meanwhile, the country’s ANDSF have been instructed to protect the people of Afghanistan from such threats and not let anybody disrupt the process.
This comes amid of excellent progress in talks between US delegates led by Zalmay Khalilzad and representatives of the Taliban group in Doha where the eighth round of talks were kicked off this week and it is determined that both sides will soon reach an agreement.

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