Afghan election commission workers carry ballot boxes for counting in Bamyan province, central Afghanistan June 16, 2014.(Xinhua/Kamran)
KABUL, June 14 (Xinhua) -- More than 7 million Afghans cast their votes during the presidential runoff polls on Saturday, said the country's election body.
"In Saturday's presidential election, more than 7 million voters cast their ballots, with 38 percent of the voters women," chairman of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), Dr. Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani, told reporters in a joint press conference.
Up to 20 civilians, 15 army soldiers and 11 policemen were killed in Taliban attacks on polling centers earlier on Saturday, said Interior Minister Mohammad Omar Daudzai at the same briefing.
The runoff election will decide whether former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah or ex-World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai leads the country into a new era with declining international military and civilian assistance.
"There were 6,365 polling centers, but 140 centers remained closed and the IEC's main office had no contact with 41 other centers during the election day," Nuristani said.
Earlier officials said that the polling centers were shut down due to insurgent attacks and transportation problems across the country.
The turnout from the runoff polls was roughly the same as in the first round of voting on April 5, when nearly 7 million, out of 12 million eligible voters in the country cast their votes.
The preliminary results of the runoff will be clear on July 2 while the final result of the polls will be announced on July 22.
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) personnel had thwarted 473 serious attacks, including six in national capital Kabul, since early Friday, Ramatullah Nabel, head of the NDS, the country's intelligence agency, said at the briefing.
The Taliban-led insurgency has been rampant since the militant group launched an annual rebel offensive against Afghan government forces and more than 51,000 NATO-led troops stationed in the country in mid-May.