The Afghan government says a third of its more than seven thousand plus polling stations will remain closed over security concerns.

Afghan election commission workers at a warehouse in Kabul prepare ballot boxes and election materials to send to the provinces for the upcoming presidential election. September 11, 2019.
Afghan election commission workers at a warehouse in Kabul prepare ballot boxes and election materials to send to the provinces for the upcoming presidential election. September 11, 2019. (Reuters)

Afghanistan's twice-delayed presidential election is expected to go ahead on Saturday, after months of uncertainty in which US diplomats sought to hammer out a pact with the Taliban to withdraw thousands of troops.

There's been an increase in the number of attacks over the last few months leading up to the election and the Taliban has warned people not to vote. 

Militants have threatened to target polling stations, but other factors are also discouraging many potential voters.

Besides threats from the Taliban, many supporters of candidates are also heavily armed, adding to fears that a deeply contested election could result in violence.

The government wants people to simply ignore the threats and get to the ballot boxes. They warn that a low voter turnout would raise questions about the credibility of the election process. 

Interior Ministry Spokesman Nusrat Rahimi says Kabul is not taking the threats lightly. 

"72,000 Security Forces, including the Afghan Defense Forces and Intelligence Division, have been tasked with this historic process so that the Afghan security and defence forces will be on high alert for the next few days."

Supporters of the election argue that it can bestow the needed legitimacy on a new government to claim a place at the negotiating table.

Until two weeks ago, it wasn't certain there would be elections, as a peace deal between the US and Taliban seemed imminent. However, after a US soldier died in an attack in Afghanistan, President Trump pulled out of the talks.

The Taliban claimed several deadly attacks in the aftermath.

TRT World's Hasan Abdullah reports from Kabul, Afghanistan. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies