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Five years after the Taliban regime’s demise, Afghanistan is back on the brink. Early successes, such as the much vaunted presidential and legislative elections, have been overshadowed by a growing insurgency in the south, a dramatic increase in poppy production, a persistently feeble central government and an uneven economic recovery. The internationally backed plan for the stabilization and reconstruction of Afghanistan seems to have malfunctioned and fostered the same conditions that led to the takeover of Afghanistan by Islamic extremists in the mid-1990s.

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