157 polling centers remain closed in Balkh province, says local officials

Out of 315 polling centers that were approved to be set up for Afghan voters in the northern Balkh province, only 158 centers are operating today while the remaining 157 centers remain closed due to security threats, according to Munir Ahmad Farhad, spokesperson for the provincial governor.

He said that 282 polling centers were supposed to be opened on the election day.

The local officials noted that a high security alert was put in place in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital city of the province, and other secure districts of the province.

Mr. Farhad, however, added that some restive districts of the province like Zari district were not accessible due to lack of telecommunication services.

Afghanistan is holding its fourth presidential election amid high security threats.  The Taliban have repeatedly threatened that they would target all polling centers to disturb the process.

Over nine million people have registered to vote in the elections and around 72,000 security forces have been deployed to safeguard polling stations across the country.