Britain Wants Taliban to Contest Polls
KABUL -Britain says it will respect the result if the Taliban win next year’s presidential and provincial council elections. “The election is open to everyone. If the Taliban take the path of honors and wish to nominate a candidate, that is their right,” the British ambassador to Afghanistan said on Sunday.
But the Taliban’s boycott of the polls would prove they were afraid of the verdict of the Afghan people, Sir Richard Stagg said in his message on the International Day of Democracy. Following is the text of the message: “Across the world, people are celebrating a basic human right: the right to choose their leaders and how they are governed. For many years, Afghans were deprived of this right. They had dictatorship, violence and fanaticism imposed on them.
“But, in the last ten years, that has changed. On 5 April, the Afghan people will vote to decide who they want to lead them for the next five years. Every Afghan, man or woman, from every province and tribe, will have the right to choose. Every person’s vote will count the same as everyone else’s. I hope that as many people as possible will take part, in all areas of the country.
“I congratulate all those who have been involved in the election preparations. The work is on track. More than one million new voters have registered to vote in recent weeks. Parliament has debated and passed new election laws, which the President has signed. And new members of the Independent Election Commission have been appointed.
“Many people ask me what role Britain will play. The answer is simple. This is Afghanistan’s election. We fully respect the sovereign right of the Afghan people to pick their next leader. We have no preferred candidate. We will not interfere. Afghans know far better than anyone else who is the right person to lead them. (PAN)