Afghans begin voting

Kabul, April 5: Afghans began voting Saturday morning to elect a new president for the next five years in the country’s first democratic transfer of power through polling.

Polling opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 4 p.m., Xinhua reported.

Polling for the provincial council seats is also being held across the country.

Chairman of the Independent Election Commission Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani cast his vote at a polling centre in Kabul.

Despite rain in the Afghan capital Kabul and several other provinces, Afghan women and men are waiting in long queues for voting amid tight security.

In Kabul, the provincial governor urged people to cast their vote and select a successor to President Hamid Karzai and members of provincial councils.

“The government forces have secured all the polling centres. I request all the Afghans to visit the centres without fear. The enemy cannot stop people to decide on the future of their own country,” Kabul Governor Abdul Jabar Taqwa told media.

Security remains the biggest challenge for the election. More than 12 million eligible voters, 35 percent of them women, are expected to cast their ballot on election day across the war-torn country.