DUSHANBE - Only elections can lead Afghanistan out of political crisis, even if they legitimise Taliban rule, Afghan anti-Taliban leader Ahmad Massoud told a conference in Tajikistan on Wednesday.
The most recent elections in Afghanistan were held under the U.S.-backed administration which the hardline Islamist Taliban deposed in August 2021 when Western troops withdrew. The Taliban dissolved the country's elections commission in December 2021.
Massoud, exiled leader of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF), made a rare public appearance at an Afghanistan-focused event in Dushanbe with stronger-than-usual security measures at the venue.
Domestic, regional and international consensus is needed to work out a general elections framework in Afghanistan, he said. Massoud did not clarify who should be elected in such a vote.
"Let the people decide for themselves which kind of government they want," Massoud said.
"If the Taliban come to power through elections, (the Resistance Front) will accept that as they will have the authority from the people." The NRF groups opposition forces loyal to Massoud, son of the former anti-Soviet mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud. It opposed the Taliban takeover and clashes have occurred since August 2021 between the two sides in the resistance movement's stronghold of Panjshir, north of the capital Kabul.
(Reporting by Nazarali Pirnazarov Writing by Olzhas Auyezov Editing by Mark Heinrich)