A bomb explosion outside a mosque used as a polling station in Afghanistan has injured 15 people, according to a doctor who spoke on condition of his anonymity.
A police officer and various election officials were hit by the blast and three are in a critical condition at a hospital in Kandahar.
An increase in violence in the run-up to the presidential election in Afghanistan has confused the country in recent weeks following the collapse of US talks with the Taliban to end America's longest war.
A police officer and various election officials were hit by a bomb blast outside a mosque that was used as a polling station and three were in critical condition at a hospital in Kandahar
An increase in violence in the run-up to the presidential elections in Afghanistan has already confused the country in recent weeks following the collapse of US talks with the Taliban to end America's longest war
The bandaged hand of a man who was injured during today's bomb explosion
The main contenders are incumbent President Ashraf Ghani and his partner in the five-year-old unitary government, Abdullah Abdullah, who alleges abuse of power by his opponent.
Today, many voters voiced equal fear and frustration about ruthless government corruption and widespread chaos in polling stations.
Tens of thousands of police, intelligence officers and Afghan National Army personnel have been deployed throughout the country to protect the 4,942 election centers.
Authorities said 431 polling stations remained closed because it was impossible to guarantee their safety, because they were in Taliban control areas or where insurgents could threaten nearby villages.
In northern Kunduz, where the Taliban had previously threatened the city – even briefly taking control of some areas – insurgents launched mortar rounds in the city and attacked Afghan security forces on the outskirts, said Ghulam Rabani, a county councilor.
The main contenders in the elections are incumbent President Ashraf Ghani and his partner in the five-year-old unitary government, Abdullah Abdullah, who alleges that his opponent's abuse of power
Today, many voters voiced equal fear and frustration about ruthless government corruption and widespread chaos at polling stations
Rabani said the attacks are meant to scare & force people to stay in their homes and not participate in the elections.
The number of victims was not immediately clear, Rabani said, with telecommunications networks disrupted or sometimes even completely flat.
The government's pressure to keep the vote in itself was controversial.
In an interview last week, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who still has great influence, warned that the mood could be destabilizing for the country at a time of deep political uncertainty and could hinder the restart of the Taliban peace process.
The violence came while many Afghans – even those who succeeded in voting – were concerned that the election results would be overwhelmed by accusations of fraud and misconduct as in the previous elections.
In the northern Taimani district of the capital, mainly ethnic Hazara's, two-thirds of the vote registration papers had to arrive in the first hours of voting, and angry voters were told that their names were not on the list.
Tens of thousands of police, intelligence officials and Afghan national army personnel have been deployed throughout the country to protect the 4,942 election centers
Abdul Ghafoor, speaking on behalf of dozens of men waiting to vote, said that of about 3,000 registered voters, only 400 were on the list who had arrived in the middle.
Ghafoor said he was told to return at 2 p.m. and that he would be allowed to vote even if his name was not on the list and without using the biometric machine.
& # 39; But how can they do this? My vote doesn't count if I'm not on a list, & he said.
In the Khoja Ali Mohfaq Herawi Mosque in the prosperous Shahr-e-Now neighborhood of Kabul, election workers struggled with biometric machines and found names on voter lists.
Ahmad Shah, 32, cast his vote, but said the election worker forgot to ink his finger – which is mandatory to prevent multiple votes from the same person.
Abdul Ghafoor, speaking on behalf of dozens of men waiting to vote, said that of about 3,000 registered voters, only 400 were on the list who had arrived in the middle
& # 39; What kind of system is this? & # 39; he asked, frustrated that he had put his security at stake to vote and feared that fraud would harm the election results. & # 39; It's a mess. & # 39;
Still, 63-year-old Ahmad Khan urged people to vote.
& # 39; It is the only way to show the Taliban that we are not afraid of them, & # 39; he said, although he was also concerned about the apparent errors in the process.
In Kabul, traffic was light, with police and army scattered throughout the city, stopping cars & looking for something unusual. Larger vehicles were not allowed in the capital on Saturday, which is normally a working day, but it was declared a public holiday before the elections.
Campaigning for Saturday's elections was modest and barely two weeks ahead of the polls, as most of the 18 presidential candidates expected a deal between the United States and the Taliban to postpone the vote.
In Kabul, traffic was light, with police and army scattered throughout the city, stopping cars & looking for something unusual
But on September 7, President Donald Trump declared a deal that threatened to appear dead after violent attacks in Kabul killed 12 people, including two US-led coalition soldiers, one of whom was American.
Although many of the presidential candidates withdrew from the elections, none of them formally did so, leaving all 18 candidates to the vote.
The elections in Afghanistan are notoriously flawed and during the last presidential polls in 2014 the allegations of widespread corruption were so great that the United States intervened to prevent violence.
No winner was declared and the US assembled the unitary government in which Ghani and Abdullah shared equal power – Ghani as president and Abdullah as chief executive, a newly created position.
Constant bickering and arguing within the government frustrated attempts to introduce substantive legislation such as security, which has been weak, continued to deteriorate, frustrated Afghans and caused many to flee as refugees.
Neighboring Pakistan, routinely accused of assisting insurgents, said it reopened its borders with Afghanistan after receiving a request from the Afghan defense minister to get the Afghans back to vote. Pakistan had announced that the border would be closed on Saturday and Sunday.
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