The Taliban has turned down an offer from President Ashraf Ghani to join the much-delayed parliamentary elections in AfghanistanIn a speech made earlier this month in Kabul, while launching the voter registration process, the Afghan President appealed to the group that has been waging an increasingly bloody insurgency to shun violence and participate in the democratic process.

“Transparent elections are the only tool through which political reforms can take place and the politics of coercion can be replaced with productive politics,” he said, reiterating his offer to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban made in February. “The Taliban can act as a political party and utilise this opportunity and the peace offer,” Mr. Ghani said. “Afghan people should no longer be subject to suffering from the ongoing war.”

However, the Taliban was quick to reject his offer. In a statement, the group not only refused to join the election process but called for a boycott of the polls. “Afghanistan is occupied by thousands of foreign troops… major political and military decisions are taken by the occupiers,” it said. “We have seen in past elections that people have been cheated and the final decision was taken by John Kerry (former U.S. Secretary of State),” it read, referring to the presidential election deadlock in 2014 that led to the formation of a coalition government. “The National Unity Government was created at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.”

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