NEW YORK - In the run-up to Afghanistans presidential election Thursday (tomorrow), Afghans still express concern about significant human rights issues, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said. While holding elections is an achievement under the circumstances, questions remain about whether Afghans will really be able to exercise their right to vote, the human rights groups Asia director, Brad Adams, said in a statement. Violence, plans to use irregular security forces at polling stations, unequal access of candidates to state media and conditions affecting women are of particular concern. Concerning women participating fully in the election, the organisation said the government and international organisations have done little to counter cultural obstacles and potential attacks by the Taliban and other insurgent groups. Women voters have been badly let down by their government and its international backers, Adams said. To leave challenging problems like recruiting female staff to the weeks before the election was a serious failing. Human Rights Watch said the overall security situation is considerably worse than during the last elections in 2004-2005. The organisation said one Afghan man said, In Zabul, you cant go around without a turban - security for the elections is less than weak. The independence of the countrys electoral commission was compromised by President Hamid Karzais appointing the head of the commission without any parliamentary oversight, the group said. Also, the group said it has learned of instances of abuse of power, including misuse of government resources, which benefited Karzai, a front-running candidate. AFP adds: the HRW raised concern that election could be compromised by low turnout, violence, fraud and intimidation. Security for voters will not be increased by the presence of armed groups who may open the way for fraud and intimidation, he added.