KABUL, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Defying the Taliban threats, the people of Afghanistan once again went out of their homes to vote in a presidential election runoff on Saturday to elect the country 's next president.
In the capital city of Kabul and other big cities, people were seen in long queues waiting to use their right of franchise in favor of their favorite candidates.
Although minor security incidents from parts of the country including Kabul have been reported, the voting process is on track and the people are waiting with patience for their turn to cast ballot.
Taliban militants who had failed to derail the April 5 presidential elections have vowed to disrupt the June 14 presidential runoff.
The armed outfit in a statement posted on its website on Wednesday termed the elections as a "U.S. trick to continue its occupation of Afghanistan," urging the Afghans to boycott the runoff voting.
Taliban outfit in its statement also warned of dire consequences to anyone who uses the right of suffrage and cast vote in the process.
"In fact, I don't mind about Taliban threats. I am here to cast vote in the process to elect Afghanistan's next president, a president that will be able to alleviate miseries and take the country towards peace, stability and development," Mohammad, 39, told Xinhua at a polling center.
Another voter, Karimullah, in talks with Xinhua said, "It is a matter of pride for Afghans that in the past decades the power transfer had taken place by guns and military forces but fortunately today we the Afghans by casting ballots elect the country's leadership and transfer political power through democratic means."
The voting begun at 07:00 a.m. local time across the country and would last till 04:00 p.m.
Chairman of Election Commission Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani was the first Afghan who cast his vote in Saturday's polling.
In his message after casting vote, Nuristani called upon people to cast their votes and elect the country's next president.
"This is an important and historic day for all Afghans and I am hopeful that the people by vast participation and high turnout to polling centers reject militancy and decide their future destination by electing their next president," Nuristani said in his message.
President Hamid Karzai, who is constitutionally barred from running for a third consecutive five-year term, after casting his vote, urged all Afghan voters to take part in the election process.
"Today is a historic day in Afghanistan. I am urging all Afghans to visit the polling centers and cast their votes for a bright future, for a new president and for a new government and for the prosperity and progress of Afghanistan," Karzai said.
The runoff election will decide whether former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah or ex-World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani leads the country into a new era with declining international military and civilian assistance.
Both the hopefuls after casting their votes urged Afghans to use their right of franchise in the runoff. They also called upon the Election Commission to respect impartiality in the national process.
Around 7 million out of some 12 million eligible to vote had used their right of suffrage in the April 5 presidential elections and a same number is expected in the second round of balloting.
Final results of the runoff polls will be announced on July 22, and the swearing-in ceremony for the next president to succeed Hamid Karzai will be held on August 2.
KABUL, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Polls opened Saturday morning in Afghan presidential election runoff, with Election Commission Chairman Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani being the first to cast his vote to elect the country's next president.Full story
KABUL, June 14 (Xinhua) -- The people of Afghanistan began going out to vote in the presidential runoff to elect the country' s new president on Saturday amid Taliban threats to disrupt the national process.Full story