VITTO BANEZ WRITES – With Afghan elections around the corner, it’s no surprise that the Taliban have something to say.

On March 10, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Afghans should sit out the elections, because they’re “an American conspiracy”  cooked up by the U.S. for its own evil purposes.

Evil or not, finding a successor to current Afghan President Hamid Karzai is indeed important to the U.S. and the future of American troops in-country.

Karzai himself has shown contempt, even hatred to the U.S. and refused to sign a deal that would let its forces continue to train and work with Afghan troops.  (Ironically, that could be a big plus for Karzai’s successor. By signing such a deal he can mend fences with the U.S. and differentiate himself from the combative Karzai.)

If even Karzai is thumbing his nose at the U.S., it’s perhaps not surprising that Mujahid and the Taliban think the race is fixed. It also helps explain their resistance and efforts to stop it.

This isn’t the first time voting has turned ugly in Afghanistan. Other elections have been hurt by allegations of fraud. Also, surveys show people don’t especially like polling or the candidates they tend to get. There have also been assassinations of campaign workers. The upcoming election should represent a glimmer of hope for Afghanistan, but the current situation looks bleak and reflects the nation’s political unrest instead of the possibility for democracy.

The Taliban claims that it will “use all force” possible to hinder the elections. It plans on attacking everyone involved in the elections from the workers to the offices. The Taliban hopes to persuade the public to neglect the race all together. There has not been any comment by national security as to what measures it will take to block attacks from the Taliban, but for now thousands of Afghans have been hired to work as security guards at the polls and search voters for bombs or weapons.  These measures seek to protect the beacon of hope to better a war-torn country.