Afghan election officials say that with just four days left to register, barely one-fourth of the country's eligible voters have signed up to vote in next year's presidential ballot.

The April 5, 2014, election is considered critical as it comes just nine months before the final scheduled withdrawal of international combat troops from Afghanistan.

Noor Mohammed Noor, who is spokesman for the Independent Election Commission, said Wednesday that roughly 12 million Afghans are eligible to vote, yet barely 2.7 million have registered. The good news, he said, is nearly one million of those who have registered are women.

Noor said voter registration centers have been set up across the country but the turnout in some of the violence-wracked southern and eastern regions has been erratic.