Pressure on the lower and middle classes is increasing in view of the state's continued failure to deliver at an acceptable level of efficiency as well as the absence of the rule of law, which results from the deeply rooted corruption and the weakening of the state after three years of protests and political turmoil.
"A major problem is the conservative interpretation of women's status in religion, which views women as a second, inferior sex. Women's presence in society is another challenge. The prevailing norms still see women's employment outside of the home as a shameful thing. On this view, women's work indicates a lack of honor for men."
"Like most other Afghans, I am afraid of a return to the past, to that tension-fueled political, social and religious environment. For now, the positive cooperation between Afghanistan and the international community is keeping that at bay. But if this cooperation ends, we cannot rule out the possibility of returning to the dark days of the past."