Workers transport ballot boxes on a trolley to be loaded on trucks at the Independent Election Commission compound in Kabul. Taliban fighters have warned Afghans not to take part in the country's Nov. 7 presidential runoff election. Altaf Qadri/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Altaf Qadri/AP

A Marine with Fox Company sits in the dust and mud of the flooded entrance to Patrol Base Barcha in the Helmand River valley in southern Afghanistan. Rising water in the surrounding fields has forced the Marines to fill in the area with gravel and sandbags. The sweltering summer temperatures have dropped, bringing a new set of problems as winter approaches. In Washington, debate is under way on how the U.S. should proceed in Afghanistan — and how to pay for it. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

Matthew Hoh, the former Marine captain and foreign service official who resigned from his post in Afghanistan, says the U.S. must evolve its strategic thinking. John Poole/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption John Poole/NPR

A U.N. vehicle is seen through the bullet-riddled guardhouse of the Bekhtar Guesthouse in Kabul, Afghanistan, after an attack Wednesday by Taliban suicide gunmen killed six expatriate U.N. staffers. The attack is a recent reminder of the dangers facing civilian workers in Afghanistan. Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images

A Marine with with Fox Company of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment carries a metal detector at the front of his patrol in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan near Garmsir. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR