Millions of Afghans are expected to vote Thursday for president and provincial councils. The Taliban plans to disrupt the election. US, NATO and Afghan forces will be stationed around the country to help protect the vote, but will not be carrying out offensive operations. Incumbent president Karzai faces over 30 challengers, but is seen as the frontrunner. br /In a live televised election debate on Sunday, Mr Karzai defended his alliances with several Afghan warlords, saying they served the interests of national unity.br /The BBC’s Ian Pannell in Afghanistan says that there is evidence of corruption, but above all it is the ongoing war with the Taliban – within at least a third of the country – that makes this election far from normal. br /br /It will be very interesting to see what the Taliban tries and how the people respond. It’s easy to judge the actions of the people, particularly if they seem passive—but few if any of us have lived in a country full of terrorists. Stay tuned.