The assassination of Ahmed Wali Karzai (center, shown in 2009), the half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, prompted fears of a security breakdown in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. Ahmed Wali Karzai was rumored to have a hand in everything that went on in the region: tribal affairs, politics and business.

Banaras Khan/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Banaras Khan/AFP/Getty Images

Afghanistan's Panjwai district, southwest of Kandahar city, was a Taliban stronghold until the U.S. troop surge in 2010 began to displace the insurgents.

Allauddin Khan/AP hide caption

toggle caption Allauddin Khan/AP

Aman Mojadidi, who grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to Afghanistan in 2003 because he thought his homeland was finally on the mend. The guerrilla artist is also known as the Jihadi Gangsta, and he has provoked controversy and laughter with his work.

Courtesy of Aman Mojadidi hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of Aman Mojadidi

Afghans hold portraits of former President Burhanuddin Rabbani, as they shout anti-government slogans during a demonstration in Kabul on Tuesday. Last week's killing of Rabbani, an ethnic Tajik, was the latest targeting his party and it has stoked fears of increased factionalism. Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images

Afghans carry the coffin of Afghanistan High Peace Council head and former President Burhanuddin Rabbani during his burial ceremony in Kabul, Sept. 23. A suicide bomber assassinated Rabbani on Sept. 20, which further complicates the thorny issue of negotiating with the Taliban. Ahmad Masood/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Ahmad Masood/AFP/Getty Images

Sakina sits with her 18-month-old son, Shafiq, at a women's shelter in Bamiyan, in central Afghanistan, last October. Sakina spent seven months in prison for leaving a forced marriage. The Afghan government recently backed down from a plan to take control of women's shelters, and women's groups are hailing it as a victory. Paula Bronstein/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Protesters in Kabul demonstrate against the results of last September's parliamentary poll, Jan. 23. A year after the elections were held, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and lawmakers are still fighting over the results, and the Parliament has accomplished very little. Musadeq Sadeq/AP hide caption

toggle caption Musadeq Sadeq/AP

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor