The checkpoint at the entrance to the Loya Jirga complex in Kabul highlights the challenge facing President Hamid Karzai as his administration strives to reconcile with moderate Taliban elements. Security at the Jirga is perhaps heavier than at a major Western airport, with all vehicles and equipment being swabbed and checked for evidence of bomb-making residue.
Afghan journalists have a mixed reaction to a government ban on live broadcast coverage of Islamic militant terror attacks. Many in Kabul say the ban places Afghan media outlets on the slippery slope of state censorship.
As donors and government officials converge on London to discuss ways to support the military surge in Afghanistan, non-governmental organizations are wary. Some NGO representatives who are responsible for implementing humanitarian projects in the strife-torn nation worry that the international conference may undermine their missions.
A derelict building stands on the broad Darul Aman Avenue leading to Afghanistan's parliament. In the 1990s, gunfire, shelling and rocket attacks caused its roof to cave in, and these days the air inside is foul. Abandoned, the structure is now primarily a haven for drug addicts.