'We Were Better Off Under the Russians'

LEFTERIS PITARAKIS-AP

STAGING GROUND: U.S. Chinook helicopters fly over eastern Afghanistan

The Afghan commander laughed at the way the Americans were going about their work. U.S. troops, he said, were obsessed with finding caches of Taliban documents to help track down their fugitive enemies. The commander's friend explained the mirth by pulling out his own identification card: a small passport-like book made by the Taliban and authorized with a Taliban stamp. It was issued April 16, long after the fall of that regime. It's a legitimate document, and the man isn't an enemy — the local government doesn't have money for stationery, so decrees and papers are still being printed on leftover...

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!