Kabul, Aug. 29 (ANI): Taliban fighters say they have successfully sabotaged the Afghanistan presidential voting process without sending in a single suicide bomber.
A Globe and Mail report says that their claim that the mere threat of violence suppressed turnout enough to cast doubt on the credibility of the vote, which is being increasingly undermined by allegations of fraud.
"It's like the election didn't happen at all," said one senior Taliban commander, who was instrumental in planning the insurgents' strategy after the their leader, Mullah Omar, ordered the elections disrupted.
He spoke to The Globe And Mail by satellite phone after meeting with a dozen other senior militant commanders in a region bordering Pakistan to discuss the election.
"We have succeeded in our plan. Even in Kandahar city, most of the people were sitting in their houses. We showed the government could not do a good election," said the commander, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
His claims were echoed by other, less senior Taliban fighters interviewed by The Globe in Afghanistan's southern provinces, where turnout was particularly low - 10 per cent in some districts - and allegations of fraud are most pronounced.
While the United Nations, American, Canadian and Afghan officials have praised the vote as a success, the Taliban's new declarations of victory are finding growing resonance in official circles.
Tooryalai Wesa, the governor of Kandahar province, did not dismiss the Taliban's claim of triumph. "The election was complicated," he said.
"They did manage to give a sense that anything was possible. They did make it seem like they were quite a lot bigger than they were. I'd score it as a win for them," the analyst said.
At least 30 people died on election day, including two people who were hanged from a tree near the Arghandab River. At least two others had their right index fingers cut off after they voted. Dozens of rockets fell on Kandahar and Helmand province.
However, the election was largely free of the massive scale of violence threatened by the Taliban, who promised to disrupt it at all costs. (ANI)