Militants in Afghanistan can disrupt upcoming Presidential polls: Russia

Tehran [Iran], Sept 26 (Sputnik/ANI): The high activity of armed groups in Afghanistan can disrupt the upcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections in the country, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said on Wednesday. "The situation in Afghanistan is impacted by the upcoming Presidential and Parliamentary election, which are at risk of being disrupted due to the high activity of the Taliban movement, the Islamic state terrorist group and its Afghan branch, the so-called Wilayah Khorasan," Patrushev said at multilateral consultations on the Afghan settlement, participated by the delegations of Russia, Afghanistan, India, Iran and China. The official noted that, according to the estimates of international experts, the Afghan government controlled nearly 40 per cent of the country's territory. "The total number of the Taliban movement's militants opposing the government in Afghanistan is currently estimated at 60,000 people. According to the report of the General Staff of the Afghan National Army, there are nearly 15,000 fighters only in the areas bordering with the Central Asian states," Patrushev said. He noted the increasing military potential of the Taliban. "It is necessary to note the increased military potential of the Taliban, particularly, its ability to stage massive and well-prepared attacks on administrative centers of the Afghan provinces ... Taliban's military achievements demonstrate the irrelevance of (Afghan military) leadership's stake on the use of force aimed at forcing the Afghan opposition to hold talks ... One can surely say that this is happening despite the more than 17-year-long US presence in Afghanistan," Patrushev said. The Russian official added that the Taliban had unleashed a full-scale terrorist war against the Afghan authorities and civilian population. Afghanistan has long been in a state of turmoil, with the government fighting the Islamic State terror group and the Taliban insurgency. The Presidential election in the crisis-hit country is scheduled for April 20, 2019. (Sputnik/ANI)
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