Email

TOPSHOT - Men queue to cast their vote at a polling station in Mazar-i-Sharif on September 28, 2019. - Insurgents worked to disrupt Afghanistan's presidential election on September 28, with a series of blasts reported across the country as voters headed to the polls and troops flooded the streets of the capital. (Photo by FARSHAD USYAN / AFP) — AFP or licensors

In pictures: Afghan voters brave threat of violence to choose country's president

Taliban fighters attack several polling stations but intense security prevents large-scale violence.
Updated Sep 29, 2019 03:21am

Tight security ensured Afghanistan's presidential election was held on Saturday in relative calm, though several small attacks, low turnout and complaints about the voting system heightened fears an unclear result could drive the country into further chaos.

Preliminary results are not expected before October 17 and final results not until November 7. If no candidate gets 51 per cent of the vote, a second round will be held between the two leading candidates.

Taliban fighters attacked several polling stations across the country to try to derail the process, but intense security prevented the large-scale violence of previous polls.

“This election was the healthiest and fairest election in comparison to the previous elections,” said Hawa Alam Nuristani, head of country's Independent Election Commission (IEC), after the voting concluded.

Ten of thousands of Afghans braved the threat of militant attacks and delays at polling booths to vote in the election, a major test of the Western-backed government's ability to protect democracy against Taliban attempts to derail it.

Two policeman and one civilian were killed in mostly small-scale Taliban attacks, the defence ministry said, adding 37 people were injured.

Tens of thousands of troops were deployed to try to protect voters and polling stations.

IEC officials did not immediately share the details on turnout, but Western diplomats in Kabul estimated it was low due to fears of violence and delays caused by polling officials.

Voting was extended by two hours, after technical problems delayed the opening of some polling stations around the country.

Independent election observers and activists said a slow pace to voting triggered confusion at some polling stations, with long queues forming outside.

“It took the first voter 31 minutes to vote. For subsequent voters it was taking around five minutes and then it started to streamline to 3 minutes and 30 seconds,” said Nishank Motwani, an observer stationed in Kabul.

“Election commission staff looked panicked and voters were getting angry that the queue was not moving.”

Men arrive to cast their votes outside a polling station in the presidential election in Jalalabad. — Reuters
Men arrive to cast their votes outside a polling station in the presidential election in Jalalabad. — Reuters

A security force personnel checks a man outside a polling station in Jalalabad. — AFP
A security force personnel checks a man outside a polling station in Jalalabad. — AFP

An election commission worker takes a photo of a man before he cast his vote at a polling station in the presidential election in Jalalabad. — Reuters
An election commission worker takes a photo of a man before he cast his vote at a polling station in the presidential election in Jalalabad. — Reuters

A woman holds her child as she casts her vote at a polling station in Jalalabad. — AFP
A woman holds her child as she casts her vote at a polling station in Jalalabad. — AFP

Women queue to cast their vote at a polling station in Herat. — AFP
Women queue to cast their vote at a polling station in Herat. — AFP

Ballots papers are seen on the table during the presidential elections, at a polling station in Kabul. — AP
Ballots papers are seen on the table during the presidential elections, at a polling station in Kabul. — AP

An Afghan policeman casts his vote at a polling station in Kabul. — Reuters
An Afghan policeman casts his vote at a polling station in Kabul. — Reuters

Afghan Sikhs show their inked fingers after casting their votes at a polling station in the city of Jalalabad. — AP
Afghan Sikhs show their inked fingers after casting their votes at a polling station in the city of Jalalabad. — AP

An Independent Election Commission (IEC) official scans a finger of a voter with a biometric device at a polling station in Herat. — AFP
An Independent Election Commission (IEC) official scans a finger of a voter with a biometric device at a polling station in Herat. — AFP

Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani arrives to cast his vote in the presidential election in Kabul. — Reuters
Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani arrives to cast his vote in the presidential election in Kabul. — Reuters

In this handout photograph taken and released by Press Office of President of Afghanistan, an Independent Election Commission (IEC) official scans the face of Afghan President and candidate Ashraf Ghani with a biometric device at a polling station in Kabul. — AFP
In this handout photograph taken and released by Press Office of President of Afghanistan, an Independent Election Commission (IEC) official scans the face of Afghan President and candidate Ashraf Ghani with a biometric device at a polling station in Kabul. — AFP

In this handout photograph taken and released by Press Office of President of Afghanistan, Afghan President and candidate Ashraf Ghani casts his vote at a polling station in Kabul. — AFP
In this handout photograph taken and released by Press Office of President of Afghanistan, Afghan President and candidate Ashraf Ghani casts his vote at a polling station in Kabul. — AFP

Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah arrives at a polling station in Kabul. — Reuters
Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah arrives at a polling station in Kabul. — Reuters

Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah casts his vote at a polling station in Kabul. — Reuters
Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah casts his vote at a polling station in Kabul. — Reuters

Wounded men receive treatment at a hospital following a blast in Kandahar Province. — AFP
Wounded men receive treatment at a hospital following a blast in Kandahar Province. — AFP

A wounded man receives treatment at a hospital after a blast as his son touches his feet in Jalalabad. — AFP
A wounded man receives treatment at a hospital after a blast as his son touches his feet in Jalalabad. — AFP

A crane is seen as people vote in the presidential election in Kabul. — Reuters
A crane is seen as people vote in the presidential election in Kabul. — Reuters

An Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) official empties a ballot box to count ballot papers after polling stations closed, in Herat. — AFP
An Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) official empties a ballot box to count ballot papers after polling stations closed, in Herat. — AFP

Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) officials count ballot papers after polling stations closed, in Mazar-i- Sharif. — AFP
Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) officials count ballot papers after polling stations closed, in Mazar-i- Sharif. — AFP

Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) officials count ballot papers after the polling station was closed, in Mazar-i-Sharif. — AFP
Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) officials count ballot papers after the polling station was closed, in Mazar-i-Sharif. — AFP

An Afghan election commission worker prepares ballot papers for counting in Kabul. — Reuters
An Afghan election commission worker prepares ballot papers for counting in Kabul. — Reuters