President Hamid Karzai called on Afghanistan's insurgent Taliban today to vote in landmark August elections and to not attack the polls.
At a press conference, Karzai said all eligible Afghans should register for voting cards and cast their ballots in the August 20 presidential and provincial council elections.
"It is also my wish that our Taliban brothers and all other Afghans who are not in Afghanistan for various reasons and are standing in opposition...request them again and again to renounce violence not only on the election day but forever," he said.
"It is also my request that they should come to their land, take cards, register and take part in the elections," he said.
Karzai was likely referring to insurgents based in Pakistan where many Taliban -- including the group's fugitive leader Mullah Mohammad Omar -- are said to have fled after the 2001 US-led invasion that drove the extremists from power.
Karzai is standing for a second term in the elections, the second-ever presidential ballot in a country that has a history of oppressive governments and has been ruined by decades of war.
With a Taliban-led insurgency peaking this year, there are concerns that the militants will attack the polls or intimidate Afghans into not voting especially in the most intense battlefields in the south.