Taliban using voter cards as 'visas' in southern Afghanistan

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Kandahar (Afghanistan), May 13 (ANI): Taliban fighters are using recently acquired voter identification cards as makeshift passports to smooth border crossings from Pakistan and ease travel between cities in Afghanistan's southern provinces, reports the Globe and Mail.

When produced, the voter registration cards give fighters an appearance of legitimacy, they say, and help them "trick" Afghan security and international forces into allowing them to sail through police and army checkpoints set up to limit the militants' mobility.

Interviews with several mid-level Taliban commanders and low-level fighters spread across southern Kandahar province, including the Taliban-dominated villages of Mushan and Zangabad, revealed that insurgents have no intention of using their voter registration cards to participate in the coming election.

The militants interviewed said they had applied for the cards on the advice of senior commanders in Quetta, Pakistan.

It was suggested that the cards might help insurgents traverse southern Afghanistan's dangerous highways, which are controlled by Afghan troops in some sections and by Taliban in others.

A Canadian military spokesman deferred comment on the issue to Afghan officials.

Kandahar Governor Tooryalai Wesa said he has not had any reports of Taliban using voter registration cards as if they are travel visas.

"This is propaganda. They're just putting words out. They cannot fight face to face, so this is what they do. They put words in the media," he told the paper. (ANI)

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