Burqa-clad Afghan women attend an election rally of Afghan presidential candidate Gul Agha Shirzai in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province. Picture: Noorullah SHIRZADA

Kabul -

The Afghan Taliban on Monday instructed their fighters to disrupt the April 5 presidential election, warning people not to take part in the polls “designed in the CIA and Pentagon offices.”

“Our demand to the clerics, scholars, university lecturers and school teachers is to tell the people about these conspiracies and their negative consequences,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the insurgents, said in a statement.

This was the Taliban's first official reaction to the presidential election, although their spokesmen had already warned people against voting in interviews.

Mujahid also warned people not to put their lives in danger by going to the polling stations.

He had previously said that Taliban fighters would target candidates, their campaigners and polling stations.

On February 2, two campaigners for candidate Abdullah Abdullah were shot dead by unknown armed men in western Afghanistan.

Three weeks later the insurgents also fired on Abdullah's campaign motorcade in the eastern part of Kabul city, injuring a police officer.

“We have ordered all the mujahideen (Islamist militants) to use all of their forces to disrupt the enemy's fake election and target all its workers, activists, callers, security personnel and offices,” the statement said.

It also warned people against allowing the government to “use mosques, schools, clinics and other public utilities as polling centres.” - Sapa-dpa