This week the people of Afghanistan are going to the polls to elect a new President now that the term of Hamid Karzai is finally up. In terms of the importance for the future of Afghanistan and the success of the ISAF mission, this election couldn't be more critical. And potentially it marks a turning point in the campaign against the insurgency.
Karzai was initially voted in by a council and not a general election of the populace. His second election in 2004, the first proper test of his popularity with voters, was mired in controversy and accusations of corruption and electoral fraud. A simlar story played out in 2009, to such an extent that his main opponent refused to compete in a run-off election, believing that the process was already inherently rigged against him.