Afghanistan's Taliban tells teachers, students to block presidential elections or risk death

Afghanistan
# 18 September 2019 19:32 (UTC +04:00)

Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgent group on Wednesday warned teachers, students and other education workers to avoid the upcoming presidential vote or risk dying in attacks on election centers, APA reports citing Reuters.

“Do not allow election organizers to turn your schools and institutions into electoral centers, and teachers and students should not work as electoral staff,” said the Taliban statement.

“We do not want to cause the loss of lives and financial losses for civilians, teachers and students,” it said.

In 10 days, Afghanistan will hold its fourth presidential election since United States-led forces toppled the hardline Islamist Taliban from power in 2001. The insurgents have sworn to violently disrupt the vote, which comes in the aftermath of collapsed peace talks between the militants and the United States.

Schools and universities make up between seven and eight out of every ten polling centers across the country, and though no students, teachers or education officials are being hired as election workers, they can volunteer, said Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s election commission.

“We are committed to holding elections on the announced date, and such threats from the Taliban cannot prevent us from holding them,” the spokesman said.

The Ministry of Education was not immediately available for comment, but the United Nations and international donors have asked it to help with elections because of its relatively developed infrastructure.

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