Voting is under way in Afghanistan\’s presidential run-off amid tight security following warnings from the Taliban.
Saturday\’s vote pits former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah against ex-World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani after neither secured the 50 percent majority needed to win outright in the first round on April 5.
It should be the first time that power in Afghanistan has been democratically transferred.
Security has been tightened across the country after Taliban fighters threatened to attack the election, which they have condemned as a US-sponsored charade.
The Taliban have pledged to do their utmost to disrupt the vote with "non-stop" assaults.
"By holding elections, the Americans want to impose their stooges on the people," the insurgents said on their website.
Both candidates, as well as incumbent Hamid Karzai, cast their vote early on Saturday morning, though most pollng stations remained relatively quiet in the morning.
Abdullah won 45% of the first-round vote, with Ghani securing 31.6% – multiple fraud claims were made against both sides. The pair came top of an eight-man field, but because neither reached the 50% threshold needed for an outright victory, Saturday\’s run-off election was necessary.
About 200,000 soldiers from the Afghan army have been deployed at polling centres across the country.
Counting the vote will take weeks. The preliminary result is due on July 2 and the final result on July 22.
Ahead of the election, the Taliban said polling booths would be targeted in "non-stop" assaults.
Source – Agencies