The following slide show reveals the faces and opinions of a cross section of people from Afghanistan: what they think about NATO's presence, the resurgence of the Taliban, and how their war-torn country might be fixed.
When I recently visited a northern province, a group of villagers told me that they lacked electricity. My immediate response was to ask why that was important to them, given that their crops are threatened by floods, and there were only a couple of primary schools serving the entire district. "They brought the ballot boxes and they told us that the rich countries would provide electricity and there would be new factories," one of them responded.
In my travels across the country, whether in the relatively secure north and west or in the volatile south and east, people voiced the same expectations of reconstruction and the same rejection of violence. While the country is not on the brink of collapse, people are insecure, which is why Afghans welcome the presence of NATO troops. More important, beyond the country's provincial capitals, there are few assurances of security from the army or police. Instead, local strongmen, armed groups such as the Taliban and other networks have filled the void. -- Roya Aziz