The Taliban demanded that Afghans boycott August 20 presidential elections and instead “free their invaded country” through holy war.
In a statement, the Islamist militia ordered its fighters to block all roads on the eve of Afghanistan's second presidential ballot and stop voters from going to polling stations.
“To achieve real independence instead of going to fake election centres, they must go to jihadi trenches, and through resistance and jihad they must free their invaded country from the invaders,” the statement said.
A surge in attacks by Taliban and other militants battling the government and allied Western troops has raised concerns that it will lead to poor voter turnout and throw the election’s legitimacy into doubt. The statement called for attacks on “enemy centres”, understood to refer mainly to bases of Western and Afghan forces.
The Taliban, however, did not directly order strikes on voting centres, according to an e-mailed copy of the Pashtu-language statement.