The State of Afghanistan

Tyler Hicks / The New York Times/Redux

MAN IN THE MIDDLE: Karzai hosting America's First Lady Laura Bush in Kabul in June

It has been a rough few weeks for Afghanistan's President, Hamid Karzai. Violence in his insurgency-wracked nation reached new levels on Aug. 18 when the Taliban attacked French troops belonging to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) just 30 miles (50 km) from the capital Kabul; 10 Frenchmen died and another 21 were wounded. The next day, militants massed against one of the biggest U.S. bases in the country, launching a coordinated attack that included six suicide bombers. Just a week earlier, militants had killed three foreign aid workers and their Afghan driver, prompting international aid missions to reconsider...

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