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Afghans Elect President Amid Taliban Threats

AL JAZEERA – Security tightened for runoff vote after fighters said polling booths would be targeted in “non-stop” assaults.

Afghans are heading to the polls for a second round of voting to elect a successor to President Hamid Karzai.

Saturday’s vote pits former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah against ex-World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani after neither secured the 50 percent majority needed to win outright in the first round on April 5.

Security has been tightened across the country as Taliban fighters have threatened to attack the election, which they have condemned as a US-sponsored charade.

Al Jazeera’s Imtiaz Tyab, reporting from Kabul, said there had been reports of rocket attacks in the capital shortly after polls opened.

He said there was a “huge security presence” in the city and that about 200,000 soldiers were deployed at polling centres across the country.

Afghan officials and international allies are hoping for a repeat of the successful first-round vote in April, when the Taliban failed to launch a single high-profile attack and voter turnout was more than 50 percent.

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Afghanistan ElectionsTaliban