Afghanistan has begun its two-month campaign season for a presidential
election to decide who will lead the country for the next five years.
The campaign period opened Tuesday and will close on August 18, two days before the vote.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is facing 40 challengers to his bid for a second term.
While Mr. Karzai is in Russia Tuesday for a regional conference, his
supporters and other political workers marked the first official day of
campaigning by hanging banners and colorful posters in the capital,
Kabul. However in the southern city Kandahar, a Taliban stronghold,
there were no public displays of political campaigning.
A worsening Taliban insurgency and charges of government corruption have weakened Mr. Karzai's image at home and abroad.
A new poll conducted by a U.S.-based group indicates fewer than one-third of Afghans support his re-election.