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Afghan women arrive to cast their vote during parliamentary elections at a polling station in Kabul, Afghanistan, October 20, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

UN expresses concern over Taliban’s threat to target election gatherings

AT News Report

KABUL: The United Nations has expressed deep concern at the Taliban’s stated threat to target civilians participating in the 28 September presidential election process.

According to international humanitarian and human rights law, the electoral process in Afghanistan is a civilian undertaking and everyone has the right to take part in public affairs, to vote and to be elected to government without discrimination and without unreasonable restrictions, the agency said Wednesday in a statement.

“All citizens – whether voters, candidates or election-related staff – have the right to be free from fear, intimidation and violence at all stages of an elections process,” the statement added.

The United Nations urges the Taliban to respect and protect civilians and not to threaten them or carry out violence should they engage in their constitutional right to participate in elections.

The United Nations emphasizes that attacks directed against polling centres and civilians participating in the electoral process are clear violations of international law, and perpetrators of such crimes must be held accountable.

The Taliban group on Tuesday called presidential elections, slated for 28 September, as misleading and illegitimate, and warned to disrupt the process. They group called on Afghan masses to stay away from gatherings of electoral campaigns and rallies.

In a statement, the Taliban said fighters should “stand against this theatrical and sham of a process to their full capabilities” — a clear instruction to conduct attacks.

“”To prevent losses, God forbid, from being incurred by our fellow compatriots, they must stay away from gatherings and rallies that could become potential targets,” a message posted on the Taliban’s website stated.

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