Afghan security tightened ahead of Saturday's presidential poll

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Afghan security tightened ahead of Saturday's presidential poll

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With two days to go until a presidential election already hit by deadly Taliban violence, Afghanistan is stepping up security nationwide.

The Defence Ministry says nearly 200,000 police and troops are being deployed at polling stations.

Mustafa Bag, our correspondent in Kabul, confirmed that police are on high alert, stopping and searching vehicles on all roads.

The Taliban has vowed to do its utmost to disrupt Saturday’s vote, which will find a successor to President Hamid Karzai who is constitutionally barred from standing again.

On Wednesday, a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up outside Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry in central Kabul, killing himself and at least six policemen.

Taliban insurgents also killed nine civilians including a provincial council candidate in northern Afghanistan, local officials said.

For Afghans, police checks of their cars are a price to pay in the name of safety.

“I’m happy with these searches,” one man told our reporter in the capital. “I have some concerns about election security but we trust in God. And I am happy with how the police are treating us.”

This is a key test for Afghanistan’s fledgling security forces, as most foreign troops prepare to pull out.

Civilians have increasingly been caught up in the violence, with militants warning that they will be targeted if they try to vote this weekend.