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Third place
Rick Loomis The Los Angeles Times
"The Afghans: An infant democracy"

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Progress has not met rising expectations in Afghanistan as a fledgling democracy struggles to take root. A weak and corruption-riddled government endeavors with building a stable democracy on a foundation of war, corruption, foreign interference and religious extremism. And while strides have been made in education and security, a rising Taliban influence threatens to pull the nation back into the grip of violence, with power returning to the Taliban and warlords from which the West promised to liberate them.

New police recruits are saluted as they march around the parade grounds at the training center in Kabul. Police are trying to ramp up their numbers in order to better control and protect the country but corruption plagues the effort.


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