Afghans defy rain, fears of violence to vote

View photos
In this photo taken on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, female supporters of Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai listen to his speech during a campaign rally in Kabul, Afghanistan. Two Afghan women shrouded in black emerged from the campaign rally with bundles of sticks _ pieces of torn posters still attached. They needed firewood to heat their home more than pictures of the presidential hopeful.(AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Afghan election chief has cast his ballot, launching nationwide elections for a new president and provincial councils that is taking place amid heavy security.

Men and women lined up more than an hour before the polls opened, defying fears of violence as the Taliban have threatened to disrupt the vote.

Independent Election Commission chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani urged all Afghans to vote on Saturday as he marked his ballot live on television.