* Call August 20 presidential vote US ‘invasion’, urge Afghans to join jihad
The Taliban website appears to be now, August 1st, 2009, shut down, see my prior post, Saturday, July 25, 2009, "ATTN: Investigative Reporter Australian Newspapers.....Taliban official website is hosted in Milton AU, shut it down."
The statement was the first of its kind issued by the Taliban urging the direct disruption of the election. Before the Helmand operations, attacks this year had already reached their worst level since the Taliban were ousted by US-backed Afghan forces in 2001.
The election has already come under attack, with three candidates or campaign officials ambushed within the past week. One included President Hamid Karzai’s senior vice-presidential running mate Muhammad Qasim Fahim, who escaped unhurt. One of Karzai’s campaign offices in western Herat was bombed on Tuesday but there were no casualties.Karzai is seen as a clear front-runner ahead of 36 challengers, with former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and ex-finance minister Ashraf Ghani seen among few serious contenders. Four candidates have pulled out so far. The Taliban accused Karzai of not having the courage to stand up to the Americans. There was no immediate comment from the presidential palace in response to the Taliban’s statement.
The statement by the Taliban said all roads should be blocked before polling takes place and voters told about the plan to disrupt the election. The statement came just three days after the Afghan government said it had struck a truce deal with the Taliban in northwestern Badghis province after mediation by tribal elders. The Taliban have denied there was any truce.
The Badghis deal was meant to allow candidates to campaign in the province and voters to cast their ballots safely. Zekriya Barakzai, deputy chief of the government-appointed election commission, said on Thursday tribal elders in other areas were being asked to help mediate similar deals.
WBI INC TERRORISM RESEARCH CTR