Kabul - Counting of votes was under way in Afghanistan’s presidential election amid complaints about technical issues, deadly violence and some irregularities that marred the process, such as registered voters not finding their names on voting lists.

Nonetheless, the IEC chief Hawa Alam Nuristani told TOLOnews on Saturday evening that despite security and technical problems, “we had a good election.”

According to security officials there were attacks or other incidents in 13 provinces, including Kabul, and five people were killed and 76 were wounded. Most incidents involved rockets fired at polling centres.

There were complaints by voters about the biometric devices, which occasionally didn’t work — because of operator error or the device itself — and in some cases this caused delays, but there were back-up devices reportedly available in case of technical issues, and there were technical people manning helplines, according to the IEC.

5 people killed 76 wounded as several polling centres rocketed

The most often heard complaint was that people who were registered voters — many had voted in the parliamentary elections — were not allowed to vote because their names were not on the current lists.

The IEC has yet to release any numbers of the day’s result.

“Holding a healthy and credible election is part of the collective efforts of all involved parties and our thoughtful and tactful people,” said IEC chairperson Hawa Alam Nuristani.

The Taliban staged attacks Saturday as war-weary voters in Afghanistan trekked to the polls in low numbers to elect a new president.

News Agencies quoted security officials as saying that five civilians had been killed and 76 wounded in Taliban bombings and mortar attacks at polling centres across the country.

President Ashraf Ghani, who is seeking re-election, said after voting at a Kabul high school that the most important issue was finding a leader with a mandate to bring peace to the war-torn nation. “Our roadmap (for peace) is ready, I want the people to give us permission and legitimacy so that we pursue peace,” said Ghani.

The presidential election features Ghani, his bitter rival Abdullah Abdullah, the country’s chief executive, and 13 other candidates.

Observers from the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission as saying that turnout appears to be low, especially among women. Voters stayed away from the polls amid the Taliban attacks and the group’s pre-election threats.

Election officials extended voting by two hours after polling stations around the country failed to open on time amid technical problems, according to Reuters. “It took the first voter 31 minutes to vote,” said Nishank Motwani, an observer stationed in Kabul. “For subsequent voters, it was taking around five minutes and then it started to streamline to three minutes and 30 seconds.”

“Election commission staff looked panicked and voters were getting angry that the queue was not moving,” he told Reuters.

When the polls did close there were fears that accusations of fraud and misconduct could overwhelm any election results, the Associated Press reported.

The vote comes following the collapse this month of US-Taliban talks aimed at ending America’s longest war.

The government’s push to hold the vote was in itself controversial. In an interview with the AP last week, former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who still wields heavy influence, warned that the vote could be destabilising for the country at a time of deep political uncertainty and hinder restarting the peace process with the Taliban.

On Saturday, one of the first reports of violence came from southern Afghanistan, the former spiritual heartland of the Taliban. A bomb attack on a local mosque where a polling station was located wounded 15 people, a doctor at the main hospital in the city of Kandahar said.