Taliban Vows to Block Parliamentary Elections in Afghanistan

(Bloomberg) -- The Taliban has called on its supporters to block this month’s parliamentary elections in Afghanistan, describing the Oct. 20 vote as a "malicious American conspiracy."

The militant group vowed to create "severe obstacles" to prevent the elections from going ahead, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said in an emailed statement. The poll was a conspiracy to deceive Afghans and achieve "the malicious interests of foreigners,” he added.

“The elections are a nightmare for Afghanistan, as this democratic process will be held with undoubtedly increasing Taliban attacks across the nation," said Jawid Kohistani, a former army official and now an independent political analyst. "Many may die," he said, warning the violence may prevent some Afghans from casting their votes.

Poll Violence

The country’s Independent Election Commission said at least 54,000 Afghan forces will be deployed to secure 5,100 polling stations throughout the country on election day. About 14,000 U.S. troops are now in Afghanistan, down from a peak of about 100,000 during the Obama administration.

Bombings at voter registration centers in the capital, Kabul, and in Baghlan province killed at least 63 people and wounded more than a hundred others in August.

In May, insurgents killed at least 86 people lining up to enroll to vote. A month earlier, a suicide bomber killed 60 people when he blew himself up near a crowd lined up outside a voter registration center in Kabul. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for several attacks.

Afghanistan will also hold presidential elections in April, which many believe will be even more challenging than the parliamentary vote.

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