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Moscow says postponement of Afghan election due to US pressure

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission could make a decision to postpone the presidential election scheduled for April 20 until June 20 under pressure from the United States, which needs time to get ready for the voting in accordance with its scenario, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Earlier, Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission said that the vote was delayed for technical reasons and for better preparations.

“We note that this decision was made despite the repeated assurances by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Afghanistan’s Election Commission concerning the need to strictly adhere to the deadlines for the election announced earlier,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement as quoted by TASS news agency.

“Everything seems to suggest that the decision to put off the election was made under the United States’ influence, which needs additional time to prepare for holding the upcoming voting in accordance with its patterns and building a peace process in Afghanistan according to its own scenario,” the ministry said.

“Those who initiated this step are apparently not embarrassed by the indignation expressed by many citizens of that country, which, could spiral into an aggravation of the domestic political situation in Afghanistan with far-reaching consequences. Apparently, the Afghan society’s opinion is driven into the background for the current Afghan leadership, when it comes to Washington’s interests.”

Referring to peace talks, the statement said that Kabul had the opportunity to have dialogue with members of the Taliban in Moscow in November, but it refused to send its representatives. It recalled that the Afghan government sent its negotiating team to “Washington-brokered” meeting in Abu Dhabi, but the Taliban refused to meet it.

“All that speaks volumes about who actually determines the fate of the Afghan people and the national reconciliation process in that country,” the statement said.

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