7 September 2004 -- Campaigning for Afghanistan's 9 October presidential election is officially getting underway today.
Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai and his 17 challengers will have 30 days to persuade some 10.6 million registered Afghans to vote for them.
Key issues in the race include the pace of Afghanistan's reconstruction, the country's difficult security situation, and the poverty of much of the population.
In a report released earlier this week, the United Nations and Afghanistan's human rights commission warned that a lack of security and intimidation of voters by warlords and extremists could seriously undermine the election's chances for success.
The report also warned of a lack of information and understanding among Afghans, especially in rural areas, about how democratic elections are held.