Afghans began voting early in the morning, forming long queues at polling stations despite the precarious security situation in the country, in crucial parliamentary elections in which 8.8 million citizens are registered to elect 250 deputies.
Most of the 5,073 polling stations opened at 07.00 local time (02.30 GMT) -2,300 will remain closed for security reasons – and are scheduled to close their doors by 4:00 p.m. (1130 GMT), the commissioner of the Afghan Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Hafizullah Hashimi.
"In general, the voting process has begun throughout the country, and only a few electoral centers that do not have a large security deployment have not allowed employees to start the process, although those problems will be resolved as soon as possible," he explained. Efe a spokesman for the IEC, Abdul Azizi Ibrahimi.
One of the first Afghans to leave to cast his ballot was Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who along with First Lady Rula Ghani, went to the electoral college closest to the Presidential Palace in Kabul at 0700, where he celebrated that finally some election after four years of delay.
"The great nation of Afghanistan, I congratulate you on this day," said Ghani, who also took the opportunity to thank the more than 8 million Afghans registered and all the members of the Electoral Commission for making this election possible by deploying numerous measures They will avoid scams or mistakes.
Another major problem is security, after at least ten candidates, along with dozens of workers involved in the electoral process and citizens, have died in terrorist attacks.
Initially planned for the summer of 2015 but delayed due to the precarious security situation, political instability and financial problems, the elections are seen as a test for the fragile Afghan democracy and as a test before the presidential elections scheduled for April of 2019.
For the first time since the end of the NATO military mission in 2014, the Afghan government is responsible for security during the elections.
Some 54,000 members of the security forces have been deployed by the authorities to protect voters and polling stations, and the border with neighboring Pakistan will remain closed to prevent the entry of insurgents.
The provisional results will be announced on November 10 and the final ones on December 20, according to the electoral commission, although the elections have been delayed in two of the 34 provinces.