The Taliban is calling on the people of Afghanistan to boycott next month’s presidential election run-off.
Election officials are busy trying to prepare for the new vote, called after fraud was found to have inflated both of the main candidates’ vote tallies in the first round. Incumbent President Hamid Karzai is due to face his only credible rival Abdullah Abdullah in two weeks’ time. The US special envoy to Afghanistan says it is now reasonable to hope for fewer irregularities in the presidential run-off than in the August vote. But security remains a major concern and election organisers are warning NATO that not enough is being done to ensure safety at polling stations. A statement issued by the Taliban is warning Afghans not to leave their homes on polling day. “The people must not take part in the elections,” it says, adding that, “all the main roads will be blocked or closed to the government and private vehicles on the day before the vote.”