Afghanistan: History v. Progress

From the Desert of Death in the sunblasted south to the 18,000-ft.-high Wakhan Valley in the far northeast, the first blossoms of modernity have finally begun to sprout in the rugged kingdom of Afghanistan. So have the weeds. After 2,500 years of inertia, a startling 13-year spurt of modernization has made itself felt across much of the Texas-sized nation. The beginnings of progress have also brought new problems, political and economic. As a result, Afghanistan's course seems far less clear today than it did a few years ago.

The landmarks of the...

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