Ballots counting starts in Afghanistan

2009-08-21 08:54 BJT

Special Report: Afghan presidential election |

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The polls are closed in Afghanistan and electoral workers have started counting the millions of ballots cast for the presidency.

The Taliban's threats of violence appeared to dampen a voter turnout, paticularly in the country's volatile south.

After ten hours of voting, including an one-hour extension, the ballot boxes were sealed.

Initial results are not expected until Saturday.

At a Kabul polling center, an election worker says the process was historic for the Afghan people and the international community.

Khadija Jan, Election Official, said, "It will create the destiny and future of the country. A lot of people came, and voted enthusiastically."

Taliban threats of violence appeared to dampen voter turnout in the south.

In the southern city of Kandahar, the Taliban's spiritual birthplace, voting appeared to be 40 percent lower than during the 2004 presidential election.

Kandahar Resident, said, "The situation in the city is very bad. As you can see, all the roads are empty, shops are closed, people are avoiding coming out of their houses due to Taliban threats."