Voters in Kabul have been registering at the last minute for Saturday’s presidential election in Afghanistan – a landmark poll which the Taliban have vowed to derail.
Despite the militants’ campaign of gun attacks, bombings and assassinations, hundreds rushed to complete the procedures before it is too late.
One Kabul resident, Mohammad Rafi, complained that “in the whole of Kabul city there are just three voter registration centres, so it is not possible for all Afghans to get their voting cards”.
People are picking a successor to Hamid Karzai, who is constitutionally barred from running for another term after 12 years in office. Security is tight and major cities have been placed on high alert.
Taliban insurgents claim the election is a Western-backed sham and have declared war on the ballot.
Voters are anxious but resolute.
“People in general are worried about the security situation but the upcoming election is a positive move towards changing our destiny,” said Kabul resident, Ali Jan. “I hope everyone will participate.”
A successful vote would mark Afghanistan’s first democratic transfer of power and signal prospects for stability after most foreign troops leave at the end of the year.