Polling for Afghanistan’s presidential elections have opened amid fears of violence following threats by the Taliban to disrupt the election process.
Tens of thousands of security forces have been deployed across the country to counter Taliban militants who have vowed to target polling stations.
The twice-delayed vote is taking place after Taliban-US peace talks collapsed earlier this month.
The two main candidates are the incumbent, Ashraf Ghani, and chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah.
About 9.6 million of Afghanistan’s 34 million people are registered to vote for one of the 14 candidates at around 5,000 polling centers that will be protected by some 100,000 Afghan forces with air support from U.S. forces.
In the northern province of Balkh, voters waited for election officials to arrive at polling stations set up in schools, colleges, mosques, hospital campuses and district centers.
An explosion at a polling station in a mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar wounded 14 people, according to a security source. In the northern Faryab province, Afghan forces clashed with Taliban fighters in six districts, forcing people to stay indoors and refrain from voting.
The Taliban said in a statement their fighters attacked polling stations in eastern Laghman province. Officials said four explosions in eastern Jalalabad city disrupted voting at some stations.
Explosions also hit the Afghan cities of Kabul, Ghazni and Jalalabad, officials said
Earlier this month, an airstrike and raid were conducted by Afghan Special Forces against of Taliban in southern Helmand province.
At least 35 members of a wedding party, including women and children, were killed and multiple wounded in an airstrike in southern Afghanistan.