Afghans will go to the polls this weekend to elect a successor to President Hamid Karzai, who has led their country since 2001. The election could prove a pivotal moment in U.S.-Afghan relations, because Karzai, once considered a reliable ally of the United States, has become increasingly critical of American policy.
We spoke last month about Karzai's refusal to sign a security agreement with the United States, and President Obama's subsequent threat to withdraw U.S. forces entirely at the end of the year. Today we focus on the election, which the Taliban has attempted to derail with a series of attacks in recent days.
Despite the violence, observers are expecting a large turnout for the election. What do Afghan voters hope for in Saturday's balloting? How might the election affect American-Afghan relations?