Two campaign workers have already been killed and at least one
presidential candidate has been assaulted during campaigning for the
April 5 poll, the first democratic transition of power in the
The Taliban said the proceedings were being stage-managed by the
"The people should realize that the election will bear no result
because the real elections have taken place in CIA and Pentagon
offices and their favorite candidate has already been chosen," the
Taliban said in a statement.
"...All fighters are given orders to disrupt this sham elections by
full force and bring under attacks election workers, activists,
volunteers and those providing security everywhere. If someone takes
part in this (election), they will be responsible for the bad
Dozens of Afghan security forces and civilians were killed on the
day of the 2009 presidential election, which saw the return of
incumbent Hamid Karzai to power. He is barred from running for a
The vote is taking place against the background of a stagnant
economy and concerns over Afghanistan's long-term security.
NATO is due to withdraw its troops by the end of the year, but a
small continent of U.S. troops may remain behind to help with
training, logistics, medical and air support if the next government
signs a deal to let them stay.
Karzai has so far refused to sign the deal, putting billions of
dollars in aid to the Afghan security forces at risk and raising
doubts over the long-term ability of the military to co-ordinate the
fight against the Taliban.
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Government security forces were not immediately available to comment
on the Taliban threat, but have hired thousands of Afghans to work
as security guards at the polls and search voters for bombs or
Karzai's brother registered as a candidate, but recently announced
that he would support another Karzai ally, former foreign minister
Zalmay Rassoul, in the vote.
His main rivals are considered to be Abdullah Abdullah, a former
aide to Afghanistan's most famous anti-Taliban militia leader, and
former finance minister Ashraf Ghani.
But campaigning was interrupted after the government declared three
days of national mourning following the death of Vice President
Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim on Sunday from natural causes.
(Writing by Katharine Houreld; editing by Nick Macfie)
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