Facing Fears: Afghanistan on the Brink

What will happen to the progress that’s been made in education and women’s rights in Afghanistan? It’s a legacy NGOs have spent millions building. And many Afghans worry it's what is most at risk.
Today, nearly three million Afghan girls are going to school, compared to none in 2001—a tremendous accomplishment for a country torn apart by war. And women are also making advances in higher education, in politics, and in society.
Much of this is due to the immeasurable contributions of NGOs based around the world.

Even though the pullout has been delayed, Afghans themselves are facing the inevitable departure of US troops with increasing trepidation. Will the Taliban sense a vacuum of power and try to turn the country back a dozen years? What will happen to all the hard work foreign NGOs and governments have done if the security situation deteriorates? Is the new government capable of sustaining the progress that's been made over the past dozen years in the areas of women's rights, health care, and education?

There aren’t any good answers to these questions, but it’s what Afghans are asking themselves. What will be the legacy of the last 12 years of foreign investment toward education and women’s rights? What kind of future awaits their daughters after 2014?

Losing Afghanistan

Munawar is one of 44 women and 17 children living in a shelter, the first of its kind in a country where women once had no place to go.