Taliban seeking to hamper parliamentary elections in Afghanistan

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ISLAMABAD, July 25 (RIA Novosti, Yevgeny Pakhomov) - The remnants of the Taliban in Afghanistan are seeking to frustrate the country's parliamentary elections, said Lieutenant General Safdar Hussain, commander of the Pakistani forces on the Afghan border.

"The Taliban rearranged and reinforced their military resources and they will continue their rearrangement in the runup to the Afghan parliamentary polls in September," the general told GEO-TV, a Pakistani privately-owned TV channel.

"A number of Pakistan's religious parties and groups back the Taliban, and some of them will still cross into Afghanistan to support the Taliban," he said, but would not give any names.

When asked about the possible whereabouts of the leader of the Al Qaeda terrorist network, Osama bin Laden, Hussain said he must be in Afghanistan.

"If he is alive, he is most probably staying in Afghanistan, which is a safer place for him than Pakistan," he said.

Washington holds bin Laden responsible for masterminding the September 11 terrorist acts in the United States. The man disappeared after Afghanistan's Taliban regime, which had granted him asylum, collapsed under U.S. air strikes in late 2001. Since then, bin Laden's location has been unknown.

The Taliban is a military-political movement of Islamic radicals, represented mainly by the Pushto, who settled in Pakistan's northwest in the late 19th century.

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