Sep 28, 2019 06:54 Asia/Tehran [Updated: May 18, 2020 21:52 Asia/Tehran]

Afghanistan presidential election opened on Saturday amid tight security.

Iran Press/Asia: Polls have opened in Afghanistan presidential election amid fears of violence following threats by the Taliban to disrupt the election process.

Security has been tightened across the country, with tens of thousands of troops and police deployed to guard polling stations and prevent attacks, Al Jazeera reported.

The polls opened at 7 pm local time (2:30 GMT) on Saturday and were scheduled to close at 5 pm (14:30 GMT).

The presidential election is being contested by 15 candidates, with incumbent President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah seen as the top contenders.

The two men have shared power over the past five years in a so-called unity government formed by the United States in the wake of allegations of widespread fraud and corruption in the 2014 polls.

On Thursday, the group urged Afghans to boycott the vote and threatened to attack security forces, block roads and target polling stations across the country.

The Taliban, which has been waging a war demanding the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country following their 2001 overthrow by US-led forces, has denounced the election as a "sham".

The Taliban began peace negotiations with the US in October last year but earlier this month, following the conclusion of the ninth round of talks, US President Donald Trump dashed increased hopes of an agreement by abruptly declaring the discussions "dead". 101/216

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