Despite near-constant warnings of imminent chaos, Afghanistan has come a long way since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001. Security has improved markedly, and the economy has stabilized. A national assembly has ratified an impressive constitution, and presidential elections were held. If progress continues, the reconstruction of Afghanistan will mark a significant victory in the war on terrorism. If it flags, the recent gains will start to erode.
Central Asia as a whole is also at a turning point. Following September 11, 2001, Washington entered into new understandings with every government in the region; all saw Afghanistan as a security threat and thus were eager to help. But whether Washington's present interest in the region will turn into a sustained commitment to Afghanistan and its neighbors is still unclear. Already, members of Congress are pushing to reduce U.S. assistance to Afghanistan, arguing that the principal U.S. objective there
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