Afghans Vote for President Under Tight Security

Afghans show their voter registration cards outside a polling station to cast their ballot during the Presidential elections in Kabul, Afghanistan, 05 April 2014. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Afghanistan is holding elections for President on Saturday, amidst tight security around the country.

This will be the first democratic transfer of power in the country, as incumbent Hamid Karzai cannot run for a third consecutive term. He has been in office since the end of 2001.

The lead-up to these historic elections was marked with violence and bloodshed, as fears of Taliban intimidation grew. A German photographer for the Associated Press was killed in a shooting on Friday, and a Canadian reporter was wounded. Locals have spoken of brutal threats from the Taliban in smaller towns and villages, against anybody who goes to the polls.

All 400,000 of Afghanistan's police and army are said to be on duty to guard the elections, the BBC reports.

Among the 8 running candidates, 3 are said to be with a chance of winning. These are former foreign ministers Abdullah Abdullah and Zalmai Rassoul, as well as former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. If none of them secure more than 50% of the vote, there will be a run-off on May 28.

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