A contested vote result could also plunge Afghanistan into violence as supporters of the leading presidential contestants are heavily armed and have long-standing animosities that could erupt into violence.
Not good indicators for the system's durability.
Some 9.6 million Afghans are registered to vote, but many have lost any hope that after 18 years of war any leader can unify the fractious country and improve basic living conditions, boost the stagnating economy or bolster security.
Biometric machines aimed at preventing fraud in Afghanistan's presidential election performed better than in a poll previous year but still left voters waiting a long time to cast their ballots, election observers said on Saturday.
Western security sources and Afghan officials said they had asked local media not to sensationalize threats and attacks, concerned that they could discourage voting.
In Kabul, turnout was sporadic and in the morning hours it was rare to see a crowded polling center. That's just over two million people. Since then, the IEC has offered figures of 481 and 464 closed, with the most recent figures, given by the Ministry of Information, at 4,905 centers open and 468 closed.
That will bring the total turnout to somewhere between 2.5 and 3 million probably.
Taliban insurgents are reportedly thought to have suffered an unknown number of casualties during the attack, while officials say 11 police officers were killed.
But the insurgents nonetheless pushed their offensive on the democratic process, conducting a string of bombings at polling stations and engaging Afghan security forces in clashes across the country. The official death toll is five security forces.
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Eighteen candidates were on the ballot; four pulled out before election day. But turnout was also hampered by scepticism about the electoral process.
"It is the only way to show the Taliban we are not afraid of them", he said, though he too anxious at the apparent glitches in the process. Ultimately, low turnout was reported, as voters largely evaded polls amid threats of violence by the Taliban.
"If you've got centers that are reported open but are not, it raises suspicions - they could provide opportunities for ballot stuffing", Clark said.
Voter Hajji Faqir Bohman, who was speaking on behalf of disgruntled voters at the Taimani polling center, said the polling was so disorganized and flawed that even if his candidate wins, "I will never believe that it was a fair election".
"We ask the government to prevent election fraud". Thousands of voters had been deprived of their right to vote, as election workers could not find their names in voters' registration lists. As of Sunday evening none of the candidates appeared to have raised any complaints.
The turnout was very low in most parts of the country including Kabul and the election officials could not announce the voters' turnout.
If there is no clear victor or no candidate bags over 50 per cent of the ballots cast, a second round of voting will be held to choose between the two contenders who got the most votes.
AFP with additional input by GVS Desk.