Afghanistan: Candidates start campaigning in presidential poll

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Campaigning is officially underway in Afghanistan’s presidential election.

Eleven candidates are vying to succeed Hamid Karzai and there is no clear front-runner.

The election’s being seen as a crucial test of whether this troubled country can achieve a stable political transition.

Several political heavyweights, including opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah, have held rallies to mark the campaign launch.

Abdullah was runner-up to Karzai in the disputed 2009 elections.

The incumbent has not endorsed any of the candidates as a favoured successor.

The vote, which faces a number of hurdles including security, will be held as NATO combat forces prepare to pull out of Afghanistan.

The Taliban have said they will disrupt the poll.

On the eve of the campaign launch, two political workers were killed in western Afghanistan.

Voters go to the polls on 5 April.

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