An Afghan election worker prepares before presidential election started at a polling center on voting day in Kabul, Afghanistan on April 5, 2014.(Xinhua/Ahmad Massoud)
KABUL, April 5 (Xinhua) -- Afghans began voting on Saturday morning to elect a new president for the next five years in the first transfer of power through polling.
The polling opened at 7:00 a.m. (local time) and will close at 4:00 p.m.
Polling for provincial council seats is also being held across the country.
The Chairman of Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani cast his vote at a polling center in western Kabul.
Despite rain in the Afghan capital Kabul and several other provinces, Afghan women and men wait in long queues for voting amid tight security.
In Kabul, the provincial governor urged people to cast their vote and select a successor to current president Hamid Karzai and members of provincial councils.
"The government forces have secured all the polling centers. I request all Kabulis to visit the centers without fear. The enemy cannot stop people to decide on the future of their own country," Kabul governor Abdul Jabar Taqwa told local media.
Security remains the biggest challenge for the elections.
More than 12 million eligible voters, 35 percent of them women, are expected to cast their ballots on election day across the war- torn country.