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Apr 17, 2018 04:16 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Taliban rejects Afghan president's call to participate in parliamentary elections

Taliban’s statement is in response to Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani’s call to participate in the October 20 election

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Afghanistan’s militant group Taliban has refused to participate in the upcoming parliamentary election in the country citing “foreign occupation” by US-led NATO forces. It urged the war-ravaged nation to boycott the “fake” exercise being staged in the country.

The insurgent group made the statement on Sunday that its "top most priority is to liberate the country and the nation from the occupation and restore, like all other rights [for Afghans], the right to do politics and freely elect their leaders," reported the Voice of America.

The Taliban’s statement is in response to Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani’s call to participate in the October 20 election. On Saturday, Ghani had reiterated his invitation to the insurgent group as the Taliban did not formally respond to an earlier call.

"We ask the Taliban to act as a political party and participate in the elections while utilising the prevailing opportunity and the peace offer," Ghani said.

Ghani made his first offer of unconditional peace talks in February. The move was widely welcomed by domestic and international partners of Afghanistan.

The latest overture was rejected by Taliban saying that it "believes Afghanistan is still occupied" by thousands of foreign forces and "all major political and military decisions” are taken by the “occupiers."

The Taliban also asked their fellow countrymen to boycott the election and "focus their energies" on expelling foreign forces from the country.

The report said that it was not clear from the statement by Taliban that it has also rejected Ghani’s offer to indulge in the peace talks.

In 2018, the hostilities and fatalities have increased. In the first three months of the year, more than 700 civilian deaths have been reported due to escalated hostilities between NATO and Taliban.
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