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Taliban Leader Dismisses Afghan Elections As 'Waste Of Time'

Taliban spiritual leader Mullah Omar (undated)
Taliban spiritual leader Mullah Omar has dismissed Afghanistan's presidential election next year as a "waste of time" and urged people not to vote.

The United States and its allies see the election scheduled for April as crucial for stability in Afghanistan after NATO-led troops withdraw by the end of 2014.

The participation of voters from the Pashtun ethnic group -- from whom the Taliban get much of their support -- is seen as essential to the success of the election.

In a statement released on August 6, Omar also said the Taliban were not seeking to monopolize power but to reach "understanding with the Afghans regarding an Afghan-inclusive government based on Islamic principles."

The statement was issued ahead of Eid celebrations due to begin on August 8 to mark the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa