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Four years after the United States invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban government, Afghanistan faces an uncertain and fragile future. The government of Kabul has overseen progress in building government institutions, creating security forces, and improving access to education and health. Terrorist leaders have been arrested, and the economy has grown. On September 18, 2005, Afghanistan held its first legislative elections in more than 30 years for the National Assembly and Provincial Councils. At the same time, critical challenges remain. Security has deteriorated over the past year. The Taliban, which once harbored Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, is resurgent. The central government has not been able to establish its authority outside Kabul, and the economy is in dismal shape. Reconstruction has faltered, and the drug trade is thriving as never before. The United States must devote more attention and resources to establishing a secure and democratic Afghanistan. In the document, "Afghanistan: Four Years After the Invasion", the Center for American Progress assesses progress in four areas: improving security, strengthening governance, curtailing the drug trade, and building the economy. It then offers a set of recommendations.
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