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Taliban Vows to Disrupt Afghan Election

By VOA News
30 July 2009

The Taliban says it intends to disrupt Afghanistan's upcoming presidential elections, and is calling on Afghans to boycott the vote and attack foreigners.

In a statement posted on the Internet Thursday, the extremist group calls the August 20 election an "American process" meant to deceive the Afghan people.

The Taliban says, instead of going to "fake election centers," Afghans should "go to jihadi trenches" to free their country from "invaders."

The group calls on Taliban fighters to launch operations against "enemy centers" and prevent people from going to the polls by blocking roads.

The statement comes two days after gunmen ambushed a convoy carrying a campaign manager for Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah. And one of President Hamid Karzai's vice presidential running mates escaped unharmed after Taliban insurgents attacked his convoy Sunday.

Earlier this week, Afghan officials announced they had reached a pre-election truce with local Taliban members in northwestern Bagdhis province. The militants, however, denied there was any truce.

Thousands of U.S. Marines, along with British and Afghan troops, have launched a major anti-Taliban offensive in Helmand to protect the civilian population ahead of next month's presidential vote.

In violence Thursday, the Afghan Defense Ministry said four Afghan soldiers were killed in a roadside blast in Helmand.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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