Voting is now underway, despite the Taliban’s repeated warnings of intentions to attacking the polling centres. At least 15 people have been wounded in the city of Kandahar when a bomb went off at a polling centre two hours after voting began, and officials across the country also reported several small explosions at other election sites.
“Peace is the first desire of our people,” said President Ashraf Ghani after casting his vote at a high school in Kabul.
Kabul is under partial lockdown, with streets filled by troops and trucks banned from entering the city in an effort to stop any potential suicide bombers from sabotaging the electoral process.
“I am not afraid, we have to vote if we want to bring changes to our lives,” he said.
Voting is taking place at around 5000 polling centres in the country. The interior ministry said 72,000 forces would help to secure polling stations.
This Saturday’s poll was initially meant to take place in April, but was twice delayed because election workers were ill-prepared, and the US was leading a push to forge a withdrawal agreement with the Taliban. That deal has been scrapped now after US President Donald Trump pulled out.