Afghanistan: Voters flocked to the polling stations on Saturday (Today) to cast their ballots in the presidential election, amid a threatening security situation as the Taliban vow to disrupt the election, which comes nearly three weeks after peace negotiations between the United States and its leaders stalled.
Around 5,000 polling stations in Afghanistan will open this morning
Around 5,000 polling stations will open this morning, with Afghans electing their president for the next five years out of 13 candidates, while 445 polling stations will remain close due to security threats, the independent election commission said on Friday.
Tens of thousands of troops will take part in securing the elections, including 30,000 in the capital Kabul. The Taliban threatens to disrupt the elections through the implementation of suicide bombings and rocket attacks.
The Afghanistan election comes at a critical juncture, coming nearly three weeks after a 10-month-old peace negotiations between the United States and the Taliban stalled after the latter carried out an attack in the capital Kabul that killed 12 people, including a US soldier, earlier this month.
Taliban threatens to disrupt the elections through the implementation of suicide bombings
Successful candidate of the election is expected to play an important role in the peace process with the Taliban and efforts to revive talks between the United States and the militants.
Some 9,600,000 Afghan voters have registered to vote in the elections, out of about 13 million, according to the local media reports, but there are fears that a large proportion of those who registered may not cast their votes due to security threats.
The current President Mohammad Ashraf Abdul Ghani is the most likely the candidate to win the fourth presidential elections since the fall of the Taliban government in 2001, followed by the head of the unity government Abdullah Abdullah.