Taliban calls for attacks to disrupt Afghan elections

The Taliban denounces the upcoming Afghan elections and calls for attacks to disrupt them in a newly released statement. The group is attempting to draw a line, however, between attacks targeting civilians and those against security forces.

“The Islamic Emirate instructs all its Mujahidin to halt this American led process throughout the country by creating severe obstacles for it, while taking extensive and intensive care of civilian Afghan lives and their properties,” the Taliban’s statement reads. “Those people who are trying to help in holding this process successfully by providing security should be targeted and no stone should be left unturned for the prevention and failure of this malicious American conspiracy.”

The Taliban, which refers to itself as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, portrays past and the upcoming elections as a tool for “perpetuating the illegitimate foreign occupation.” The jihadists mention the controversial proposal to turn the war over to military contractors, saying the “sovereignty of our land is at stake as the privatization of the ongoing war by handing it over to a contract killer group, called Black Water, is under consideration.”

In the Taliban’s conspiratorial telling, the upcoming elections are not an Afghan political process in which various actors jockey for political power, but instead intended to “divert the attention of our people from this untoward situation” — meaning the contractor proposal, as well as other supposed bad acts by the US and its allies.

The American strategy, such as it is, hinges on the idea that the Taliban will be willing to share political power with the Afghan government in some fashion. Earlier this year, the State Department even called on the Taliban’s men to “turn their bullets and bombs into ballots,” “run for office” and “vote.”

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is not having it.

“The bogus process of elections in countries under occupation is conducted for the sole purpose of legitimizing stooges who are ultimately authorized by the occupying forces,” the Taliban claims in its new statement. “In this way, the people are given a deceptive feeling of having free right casting their votes for the malicious purpose of minimizing their resentment against the foreign occupation.”

Not only are the elections part of a foreign “conspiracy,” according to the Taliban, they are also not warranted from either a “logical or religious point of view” under the “present circumstances.”

The Taliban exaggerates the amount of territory under its control, claiming that “more than half of the country” is currently under its command while it has “strong influence in the remaining areas.” FDD’s Long War Journal assesses that the group does currently contest or control more than half of the country, but much of this terrain isn’t under its total dominion. The Taliban argues that given its broad territorial presence, the elections will be held “only in provincial centers,” but erroneously adds that the “activities of election and complaints commission will be directly monitored by the American ambassador and the final lists of candidates will be prepared by him.”

The jihadists warn candidates that their actions are only empowering the American-led conspiracy. The Taliban tells candidates that “our creed, country” and “people” cannot “be served under the shadow of foreign occupying forces.”

“Instead, your nomination and success directly supports the vicious objectives of American invaders by legitimizing their bogus procedures and conspiracies, which is indeed supporting them in killing the pious Muslims and destroying the country by extending the ongoing war,” the Taliban says. “Therefore you should refrain from participating in this process due to your Afghan identity and perception.”

In sum, the Taliban says “it is the demand of our faith and intuition that this process should be considered unreliable, reprobated and prevented from taking place.”

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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