Polls open in Afghanistan’s long-delayed parliamentary election on Saturday amid security threats from the Taliban.

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Polls opened in Afghanistan’s long-delayed parliamentary election on Saturday amid security threats from the Taliban armed group who vowed to disrupt the “bogus” vote.

Voting centres opened at 7am (02:30GMT) and will close at 4pm (12:30GMT).

Close to nine million Afghans have registered to take part in the vote, which was first scheduled for 2015.

There are 21,000 voting stations in 5,100 polling centres in the country’s 33 participating provinces.

The vote – the third since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 – was postponed because of security fears and reforms to the voter registration process.

Security has been a major issue in the run up to voting day. Since late September, when campaigning officially started, at least 10 candidates have killed and two others abducted.

Afghanistan’s interior ministry told Al Jazeera it has deployed more than 70,000 security forces across the country to ensure security of the voters.

There was a heavy presence of security forces on the streets of the capital, Kabul, with vehicles being searched and some roads closed.

In the city’s District 9, voters started queuing early on Saturday. Most voters said they cast their ballot without any issues.

I waited in the queue for 30 minutes to vote. The process was easy and I am happy. Overall I believe in the ongoing process, but we will see what will happen,” 60-year-old Ali Shah told Al Jazeera after casting his vote.

The electoral commission said one-quarter of the polling centres in the country will not be open because of security concerns.

Several hours after voting was supposed to start some polling stations were yet to allow voters to cast their ballot.

“We have been waiting for an hour and the process has not been started yet. They said the materials have not arrived yet,” Latifa Amarkhil, a doctor, said while she waited to vote at Al Fatah High School in Kabul.

Khalid Amel, an agent for one of the candidates, said there were also issues with some of the electronic voting materials.

“The biometric system has a problem. It does not accept some fingerprints. The process is not going according to schedule. The voting centre is small and large number of people have turnout,” Amel told Al Jazeera at Al Fatah High school.

“Our responsibility is to hold elections and it is the responsibility of government to maintain security of election,” Zabih Ullah Sadat, deputy spokesman for the electoral commission, told Al Jazeera on Saturday.

Despite the vote not taking place across the entire country, Sadat said the poll results will be valid and the vote free and fair.

“We have taken enough measures to hold transparent elections. The elections will be transparent and fair,” he said.

 

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