Afghans risked their lives to vote in legislative elections in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, after the Taliban-claimed killing of a powerful police chief delayed the ballot by a week.
Turbaned men and burqa-clad women stood in long, segregated queues outside polling centres in the deeply conservative Kandahar provincial capital, which was blanketed with heavy security in anticipation of militant attacks.
More than half a million people — the vast majority of them men — were registered to vote in Kandahar province where more than 100 candidates competed for 11 lower-house seats.
Organisers were under pressure to avoid last weekend’s debacle that forced the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to extend the nationwide ballot by a day.
Problems with untested biometric verification devices, missing or incomplete voter rolls and absent election workers following Taliban threats to attack the ballot forced Afghans to wait hours outside polling stations, many of which opened late or not at all.