A Tale of Two Wars: Afghanistan

Corruption, drugs and a weak central government have the country in a 'downward spiral.' Is talking to the Taliban the answer?

Massoud Hossaini / AFP / Getty

Mourners gather at a funeral for suicide-bombing victims in Kabul.

Saboor isn't taking any chances. The bus conductor, 30, prepares for his twice-weekly Kabul-to-Kandahar trips by exchanging his city outfit for the filthy tunic and voluminous trousers of a poor mechanic, the better to fool potential robbers. He rubs grease and dirt on his face to conceal from possible Taliban attackers that he is clean-shaven. These precautions, Saboor says, have saved his life. Just the other day, a gang of thieves robbed his passengers at gunpoint. Two weeks ago, Taliban insurgents pulled some 50 passengers off a bus and slaughtered 27 men they falsely claimed were Afghan soldiers.

Seven years after...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!