As general elections in Afghanistan are expected to be held on Sept. 28, the country’s former president Hamid Karzai said Tuesday they seriously threaten the peace talk process in the longtime war-torn South Asian nation.
Having the elections now “is like asking a heart patient to run a marathon” as it is very likely to ignite Taliban attacks that will gravely destabilize the country, Karzai told the Associated Press.
“This is no time for elections,” he pointed out, “we cannot conduct elections in a country that is going through a foreign-imposed conflict. We are in a war of foreign objectives and interests. It isn’t our conflict – we are only dying in it,” the ex-president added.
Karzai who governed Afghanistan from 2004 to 2014 is still a prominent and respected political authority in his country. Urging for the resumption of the United States-Taliban talks, he made clear that if the negotiations with the U.S. were not to resume, then time would have come for the Afghans to sit down at the same table, discuss among themselves, and decide a way out of the almost two-decade-long war.
The U.S.-Taliban talks from which the current Afghan government was excluded, were abruptly interrupted earlier this month after U.S. President Donald Trump decided to call them off saying that the deal, which seemed to be about to happen, was “dead” due to a Taliban attack that killed one U.S. soldier.
Afghanistan will hold this Saturday its fourth presidential elections since U.S.-led forces invaded the country in 2001 and overthrew the Taliban government. These elections have gained importance since the peace talks’ breakdown, as the negotiations were intended to lead to the creation of an interim government among other agreements.
Current President Ashraf Ghani is seeking re-election while facing strong rejection from the Taliban, who warned civilians to not campaign or head to the polls.
Maintaining the vote is an enormous risk with some pundits announcing an election marred by violence and fraud allegations that could deepen the political crisis and further obstruct chances of getting back to talks on peace.