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Polls open in Afghanistan's presidential run-off election

Published on Jun 14, 2014 11:09 AM
A man keeps watch at a warehouse where ballot boxes bound for remote areas are kept, on the outskirts of Jalalabad city on June 12, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KABUL(AFP) - Afghans lined up on Saturday to vote in a second-round presidential election despite Taleban threats, as US-led combat troops wind down a 13-year war that has failed to defeat the insurgents.

The run-off election will decide whether former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah or ex-World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani leads the country into a new era with declining international military and civilian assistance.

President Hamid Karzai is due to step down after ruling the country since 2001, when a US-led offensive ousted the Taleban regime for sheltering Al-Qaeda militants behind the 9/11 attacks.

Afghan officials and international allies are hoping for a repeat of the first-round vote in April, when the insurgents failed to launch a single high-profile attack and voter turnout was more than 50 percent.

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