KABUL, April 5 (Reuters) - Voting began on Saturday in Afghanistan's presidential election, which will mark the first democratic transfer of power since the country was tipped into chaos by the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.
Taliban insurgents launched a spate of attacks in the run-up to the vote, which they brand as a U.S.-backed sham, but there was no word of violence as voting got under way at 7 a.m. (0230 GMT) local time.
After 12 years in power, the incumbent Hamid Karzai is ineligible to run again due to the constitution, and there are eight candidates contesting the election. The favourites are former foreign ministers Abdullah Abdullah and Zalmay Rassoul, and former finance minister Ashraf Ghani.
(Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)