Polls have closed in Afghanistan’s presidential election amid widespread complaints of irregularities and pockets of violence from Taliban insurgents, mostly in the south and north of the country.
Afghans heading to the polls complained that voters’ lists were incomplete or missing, and biometric identification machines intended to reduce fraud were not working properly or people were not adequately trained on how to use them.
A deeply flawed election could drive the country into chaos.
Preliminary results are not expected before October 17, with final results not due until November 7.
If no candidate gets 51% of the vote, a second round will be held between the two leading candidates.
Fear and frustration at the relentless corruption that has characterised successive governments rank high among the concerns of Afghan citizens.
Tens of thousands of police, intelligence officials and Afghan National Army personnel have been deployed throughout the country to protect nearly 5,000 election centres.
The Taliban had said it would take particular aim at Afghanistan’s cities.
The country has also been rattled by an upsurge in violence in the run-up to the elections, following the collapse of US-Taliban talks to end America’s longest war.
- Press Association