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Historic presidential poll begins in Afghanistan


APAfghan policemen take positions a day before the elections in Kabul on Friday.

Thousands of Afghans lined up at polling centres in Kabul from early morning to cast their ballots.

Afghanistan began voting Saturday for a new president amid fears of violence and insecurity.Thousands of Afghans lined up at polling centres in Kabul from early morning to cast their
ballots.“This is a very good day for Afghans. People are going to elect their president and provincial council members,” Election Commission chief Yousuf Nooristani said.“I ask my countrymen to go and vote.” Abdul Hadi Ghazniwal, 38, standing in a long queue at a voting station, said he was voting for change.

Jamshid Khan, 24, another Kabul resident, said he was not afraid of the Taliban’s threat to disrupt the election.
“I am here to vote for a candidate and I am not scared of the threats,” he said.

The voting began without incident, but insecurity and fraud remain the top concerns for election day, according to officials.
About 12 million voters are eligible to cast ballots at some 6,400 polling centres across the country, according to IEC. Around 400,000 security forces have been deployed.
There are eight presidential candidates, including opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah, former World Bank technocrat Ashraf Ghani and former foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul.
Outgoing president Hamid Karzai, who is barred by the constitution from seeking a third term, cast his ballot at Amani High School.
On Friday, two foreign journalists working for Associated Press were shot, one of whom died, in eastern Afghanistan.

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