The state-building endeavor in Afghanistan came to the brink in 2008 with the Taliban insurgency taking control of some southern districts, high poppy production fueling the illicit economy, widespread charges of corruption, and a looming humanitarian disaster. Afghans increasingly became disillusioned by high civilian casualties and the government's failure to provide improved socioeconomic conditions. By year's end, there was also increased pressure for negotiations with moderate Taliban elements.
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Errata: In the September/October 2016 issue (volume 56 number 5, pages 836 and 849), there was a technical printing error in Figures 1b and 2 of the article by Ajay Raina that resulted in a loss of data on the graphs. This online article contains the restored figures in their original, correct state. The error is regretted.