Khost, as it was

On one of my last days in Khost in 2007, I remember the 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers guarding Forward Operating Base Salerno's main gate were shocked that we'd go into the city without guns, dressed like westerners.

Days before, we asked Saifullah, our translator and fixer, if we needed to wear the shawal kameez -- the long shirt and baggy pants -- worn by men in central Asia. He said no, but at the gate, he said next time we went to town that it might be a good idea.

From 7,000 Miles Away, Afghans Anxiously Watch U.S. Presidential Election

MAZAR-E-SHARIF, Afghanistan — As the United States prepares for its presidential election, many Afghans are anxiously watching the race that will bring an end to the administration that triggered the 2001 U.S. intervention in their country and that has designed much of the continued military and development strategy there.

Given that Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, has become almost completely dependent on the foreign assistance the U.S. intervention has brought, Afghans perhaps have good reason for their anxiety.

Afghanistan: A Look Back

Through three flights over two days Don and I have made our way back to New York. The long plane rides gave me a chance to reflect on our time in Afghanistan and sort through all of the intense and varied experiences we had along the way.

Though we met with a diverse group of people, a number of issues kept arising. Among them are the following: