Afghans began to vote in many of the 34 provinces across the country in the third presidential election after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.
Almost 9.6 million people have registered to vote in the election, according to the Independent Election Commission.
The figures by the commission show that the total number of polling centers is 5,373, but documents seen by TOLOnews show that 445 of the polling centers will remain closed on the election day.
Eighteen candidates initially registered to run for president, but five of them--including Mohammad Haneef Atmar, Noorulhaq Ulumi, Shaida Mohammad Abdali, Zalmay Rasul and Mohammad Ibrahim Alokozai--left the race.
The incumbent President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah – who shared the National Unity Government for the past five years – are also running.
According to the Ministry of Interior Affairs, almost 72,000 security force members have been deployed to ensure the safety of the election.
The head of the Election Commission’s secretariat, Habib-Ur-Rahman Nang, said on Friday that 144,146 national and international observers will be on hand for the election day.
The Independent Election Commission has announced that the voting will begin at 7 am and will end at 3pm, but only biometric-confirmed votes will be counted.
A key issue is the use of a voter’s photo which is a must, the IEC chairperson Hawa Alam Nuristani said.
“Non-biometric votes will not be acceptable for us and there is no alternative. Only the votes which are registered by biometric devices will be counted,” she reiterated.
The commission has hired over 100,000 employees to staff polling centers across the country.
Based on the election commission’s timeline, the election results should be announced on October 30.