Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar says the Afghan presidential elections planned for April are a “waste of time” and has asked people not to take part.
“As to the deceiving drama under the name of elections 2014, our pious people will not tire themselves out, nor will they participate in it,” Mullah Omar said in a statement released ahead of the Muslim festival Eid-al-Fitr that marks the end of Ramadan.
“These nominal rulers are not elected through the ballots of the people. Rather they are selected as per the discretion of Washington,” he said.
The presidential election has been seen as critical to the future stability of Afghanistan, in a year when the NATO-led international troops are due to withdraw.
In the statement, Omar said the Taliban spring offensive was “continuing with great success,” claiming that many areas of the country were under their control.
The offensive, which started in May, has seen a large number of attacks throughout the country.
In his Eid message, the Taliban leader also outlined his vision for a future Afghanistan.
“An Islamic system and complete independence are values which we are not willing to strike a deal on with anyone,” Mullah Omar said.
He said the Taliban does not want to monopolise power.
“Rather we believe in reaching understanding with the Afghans regarding an Afghan-inclusive government based on Islamic principles,” Omar said.
Omar said the aim of the talks with the US through the political office which they established in Doha in May “is to put an end to the occupation of Afghanistan”.
While there has been no mention of progress by either side, politicians and Afghan government officials have expressed hope that talks will proceed after the Eid festival this weekend.