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Afghans will go to the polls on Saturday for their first democratic transition to power since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that overthrew the Taliban. After 13 years of war, this stands to be the final election before U.S. and NATO troops withdraw at the end of the year.
And yet, despite a marked increase in violence in the lead up to election day -- the latest attack Friday killed an award-winning journalist -- a recent poll found an overwhelming majority of Afghans support the democratic process and plan on going to to the polls.
So what's at stake, both for war-weary Afghanistan and the U.S.? Who are the candidates? And what difference will a new president make?
NBC News' Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel has returned to Kabul to report on this milestone in America's longest war. Engel, along with notable Afghan expert Haroun Mir, hosted an interactive webcast to answer some of the most burning questions about the latest developments in Afghanistan and what to expect on election day and beyond.