Afghanistan

Afghans Head To Polls Amid Security Concerns

The Taliban has warned civilians to 'stay at home or risk being hurt'.

A man votes in the Afghanistan presidential election (Picture: Rahmatullah Alizadah/Xinhua News Agency/PA).

Afghans have headed to the polls to vote for a new president amid high security.

The Taliban has vowed to disrupt the elections, warning people to stay at home or risk being hurt, saying it will focus on cities.

In response, tens of thousands of police, intelligence officials and personnel from the Afghan National Army have been deployed across the nation in protection of just under 5,000 election centres.

In the run-up, at least 15 people were injured in Kandahar after a bomb went off at a local mosque which was being used a polling station, a local doctor said.

A voter casts her ballot at a polling centre in the Afghanistan presidential elections (Picture: Sayed Mominzadah/Xinhua News Agency/PA images).

An upsurge in violence in advance of voting, following the collapse of US-Taliban talks to end America's longest war, has also rattled the nation.

The main contenders for the presidency are the incumbent Ashraf Ghani, and Abdullah Abdullah, his partner in the five-year-old unity government, who has alleged abuses of power by his opponent.

Ranking high among the concerns of 9.6 million voters, are fear and frustration at the corruption which has plagued consecutive governments.

In the last presidential polls in 2014, allegations of corruption were so widespread that the United States intervened to prevent violence.