This CNN story reminds us that in Afghanistan, the Taliban--and the conditions that led to their rise to power--haven't entirely gone away.
In Kabul, the Afghan capital, which attracts most of the world's attention, money and foreign visitors, Afghan and international officials speak of a new era in this war-ravaged country now that the Taliban are ousted and their al Qaeda allies routed.
But in the countryside, especially in impoverished southern provinces dominated by ethnic Pashtuns, the new Afghanistan has been one of disillusionment. In some areas, the old ways are returning.
If the Vietnam experience teaches us anything, it's that securing the capital city alone is not enough.
Many people assumed better times would follow the collapse of the Taliban. But nearly a year after the regime fell, children in Zabul and surrounding provinces are still malnourished. ..."today we have nothing, no food, no money, no work for our young people," [a village elder] said. "We thought the foreigners were going to help us, but they haven't."
Personal safety is paramount in the minds of people here. The Taliban's harsh rules all but put an end to banditry, clan wars and other acts of violence. Freedom has brought that violence back.
"People don't want the Taliban, but they want security and help from the international community," Abdul Bari, a government commander in Qalat, said. "Until now, they haven't received either."