By Kylie Morris
BBC Kabul correspondent
International support has successfully transformed Afghanistan from a pariah state, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says.
Straw wants Afghans to do more
On a visit to the Afghan capital Kabul, Mr Straw was upbeat, saying that life for the overwhelming number of Afghans is now completely different to what it was under the Taleban.
Mr Straw's revelation came on the way from the airport to the city - where he had seen shells of buildings 12 months ago, he said, now there were businesses.
And where people had in the past been downcast they were now holding their heads high.
He declared that Afghans now have freedom, there is life on the streets and economic activity.
As in any other country, security must lie in the hands of the people of that country, in the end
UK Foreign Secretary
Girls are in school and their country is making its way with the rest of the world.
But he admitted after a meeting with his Afghan counterpart, Abdullah Abdullah, that there are difficult challenges ahead, primarily security.
He shared with Mr Abdullah his view that Afghanistan ultimately must secure itself.
"As in any other country, security must lie in the hands of the people of that country, in the end. And others can do what we can but it's both your responsibility and your duty," Mr Straw said.
But on the ground, security is deteriorating and efforts to empower Afghanistan's central government through the formation of a national army and training of police are going slowly.
Central authority does not extend far beyond Kabul
The much-discussed programme for demobilisation and disarmament of the country's various armed factions seems to have frozen.
Those problems, together with the reappearance of the Taleban in the south and continued fighting in the north, threatens to scupper any real reconstruction of the country before it's barely begun.
Britain has responded to Afghanistan's calls for more peacekeepers by committing a reconstruction team to the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif.
Mr Straw says while it is very early days for the team, he is hopeful that based on their good track record of working closely with the Afghans, the British will be able to make a difference.