The BBC News website reported in detail on events in Afghanistan throughout 13 September, to try to convey the fullest picture we could of life there ahead of parliamentary and local elections.
We reported the news in greater detail than usual, and talked to Afghans from all walks of life about their lives.
We looked at the Afghan media and at what our readers in Afghanistan and elsewhere made of the situation there.
1800-1900 local time (1330-1430 GMT)
NEWS 1849: AFP news agency reports a Pakistani commander as saying that security forces have recovered an unmanned drone aircraft and seized 21 militants in a raid on suspected al-Qaeda hideouts in the tribal areas near the Afghan border.
Militants used the Chinese-made vehicle to spy on security forces in the area, he says.
NEWS 1810: Presidential adviser Hedayat Amin Arsala tells BBC World television that democratic and other reforms in Afghanistan must come from within, rather than being imposed by the West.
"We've got to change ourselves. Whatever is forced on us won't work," he says.
1700-1800 local time (1230-1330 GMT)
NEWS 1737: Pajhwok news agency quotes the interior ministry as saying that a Taleban commander was killed and four other fighters arrested in a clash with security forces in Logar province.
The Afghan army is frequently involved in clashes with the Taleban
Spokesman Col Dad Mohammd Rasa says
the group clashed with national security forces on Monday night. He adds that no-one on the government side was injured.
NEWS 1706: As Nato defence ministers meet in Berlin, an alliance spokesman admits that strains remain over
plans for closer co-operation between Isaf and
the US-led forces in Afghanistan.
"All nations agree that... when Nato takes over operations throughout the
country, there must be unity of command," he says. "Within that is where the details need to be worked
out. Different countries have different visions."
DAILY LIVES: Yasamin I want to work in a hospital, but although I leave school next year and I've been looking for job opportunities, I haven't found any opportunities yet.
Life is still difficult here. My whole family - my father, mother, three brothers, six sisters, niece and two nephews - live all together in one house. My mother really wants her own house, but we don't have enough money.
1600-1700 local time (1130-1230 GMT)
DAILY LIVES: Dr Hajirah Zia Baharustani I have had a difficult few hours. I performed two operations in the hospital.
The first was on a woman with high blood pressure. Unfortunately, her blood pressure was incredibly high and her baby died.
The second operation was on a woman who came from over 50km away. She had ovarian cysts, but I removed them and she is going to be fine.
Now, I have 10 patients waiting for me in my private clinic.
1500-1600 local time (1030-1130 GMT)
NEWS 1544: Pajhwok news
agency reports that two policemen sustained injuries when a roadside bomb hit a convoy carrying supporters of an election
candidate in eastern Nangarhar province.
It says the candidate, Said Ghafar Pachaon, was unhurt in the attack on Monday.
NEWS 1536: The Pajhwok agency quotes defence ministry spokesman
Zahir Azimi as saying that six Taleban fighters have been killed and three captured in operations in southern Afghanistan since last Friday.
He says that 27 machine-guns and
rocket launchers were seized in the operations, jointly conducted by
the Afghan army and multinational forces in
the Shah Joy and Arghandab Districts of Zabul and Kandahar.
forces suffered no losses, the spokesman adds.
DAILY LIVES: Mursal Six months ago I began to learn carpet weaving. We were taught at an International Red Cross course which was conducted in the area.
Mursal and Arzoo at work with friends
My father is jobless and I'm the only bread winner of the family. Now I'm working on a two-metre rug, which will be finished in about three months time.
NEWS 1522: President Karzai urges the world not to turn its back on Afghanistan after this weekend's elections.
"The international community should not immediately think Afghanistan's work has been done and it's over and let the
Afghan people forge ahead with their work with their own
resources," he says in a speech to tribal elders, local
dignitaries and Islamic clerics in the western city of Herat.
"No, of course not, we want the international community not
only to continue their contributions to Afghanistan, particularly monetary ones, after the establishment of
parliament, but also to increase them so the success reaches
He also urges voters to support "honest" candidates.
NEWS 1500: Several thousand extra Nato troops are needed in Afghanistan's volatile south, British Defence
Secretary John Reid says.
He tells journalists in London that
from next April, Nato forces will be moved from their present locations in the
north of the country to a new base in Helmand province in the south.
Mr Reid acknowledges that the deployment will be hazardous. "The Taleban are still active in the area. So are drug traffickers. We must
be prepared to support, even defend, the provincial reconstruction team," he
1400-1500 local time (0930-1030 GMT)
NEWS 1442: The big story in the western city of Herat is the visit of President Hamid Karzai.
The city's officially-funded daily Etefaq-e Eslam uses his visit to highlight the problem of re-building the infrastructure of the city. It notes that many companies involved in project work are going bankrupt.
The news agency Herat News Centre publishes a message of welcome to President Karzai. It says there is expectation that the visit will build trust and provide hope for the future.
NEWS 1440: The head of US-led coalition forces in the country, General Karl Eikenberry, responds to President Karzai's call for a rethink of security strategy.
US forces lead most major combat operations in Afghanistan
He tells the BBC that he believes coalition forces, in partnership with the Afghan government, have a very good strategy.
He denies suggestions that the Taleban are gaining in strength, and says Pakistan in recent months has done an enormous amount to bolster security in the troublesome border area.
DAILY LIVES: Abdul Hameedi Kandahari I am hopeful that the situation will improve after the election. Security is better now but I fear that this is not the real situation and that things could get worse again.
NEWS 1410: Independent Afghan news agency Pajhwok quotes police in Kandahar as saying the second explosion in the city was caused by a Taleban fighter riding on a motorbike, who threw a hand grenade at the security police in Keshmesh Bazaar, close to the scene of the first explosion.
A man is said to have been arrested in connection with the hand grenade incident.
1300-1400 local time (0830-0930 GMT)
NEWS 1341: The US military confirms that two of its soldiers suffered
minor injuries and their Humvee vehicle was set on fire in an
attack in the southern city of Kandahar.
"Late this morning, two US soldiers were slightly wounded when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device or a hand
grenade," says spokeswoman Lieutenant Cindy Moore. "The explosion set fire to the vehicle."
US forces and Afghan police came under attack
The agency also quotes a senior Afghan police official, Abdul Hakim Angar, as saying that a separate small explosion wounded two Afghans about 100 metres
(330 feet) from the site of the attack on the Americans. "It was a planned terrorist act," he says.
NEWS 1322: Some 100 Afghans protest in Kabul at the decision of the election commission to ban a former mujahideen fighter from standing in Sunday's elections, Reuters news agency reports.
Bans on candidates have caused anger
Qumandan Didar is one of 21 candidates who were banned from standing on Monday because of their alleged links to warlords.
His campaign manager says "we will create violence" if the commission does not reverse its decision.
DAILY LIVES: Nazar Gul Shahpoor I am a farmer with 12 members of my family. In the past here, there was a lot of fighting and I couldn't send my children to school because it was too dangerous.
Now the security situation is better and my dream has come true and I can send my children to school.
1200-1300 local time (0730-0830 GMT)
NEWS 1257: Two explosions are reported in the southern city of Kandahar, the former stronghold of the Taleban. In one, two American soldiers are reported to be injured when their convoy is attacked on the road to the airport, eyewitnesses say.
A few minutes later there is a grenade attack on a police vehicle in the city. One policemen is injured - the suspected attacker is arrested.
NEWS 1245: Afghan nationals are reported to be among a group of 20 militants arrested just across the border in an operation carried out by the Pakistani army.
A Pakistani officer is reported as saying that the arrests were carried out in the North Waziristan tribal region, the Associated Press news agency reports. The area has been used as a base for militants operating in Afghanistan.
1100-1200 local time (0630-0730 GMT)
NEWS 1200: Local radio in the northern town of Mazar-e-Sharif leads with the elections, urging voters to choose "a competent and capable candidate".
The third item is the story of one candidate - Momin Khirkhwa - who has been disqualified from the elections because he has been accused of keeping a gun. The candidate protests his innocence however, saying he has handed all his weapons in.
DAILY LIVES: Saima
I live in a village in Kuz Kunar district in Nangarhar in a small mud hut.
Four years ago my husband Hanif was killed by the Taleban. He was a member of a private militia, a mujahideen. We were engaged when I was 15 years old.
This morning I got up at 5am to milk the cow. Some of the milk feeds my children for breakfast and I sell the remaining milk to my neighbours.
Then my eldest son walks to school 2km away. While he is away I will cook lunch and help local families in exchange for bread.
1000-1100 local time (0530-0630 GMT)
NEWS 1020: Kabul's newspapers focus on Sunday's polls. The disqualification of 28 candidates from the election campaign makes the front pages in several papers including the independent Cheragh.
The independent Erada reports that the election campaign in the north-eastern Takhar Province had ended in violence.
NEWS 1015: Nato defence ministers prepare to meet in the German capital, Berlin, for two days of talks, with Afghanistan high on the agenda.
The ministers are expected to hold detailed talks on proposals to expand Nato's operations into the south and east of the country, where US forces are leading the fight against the Taleban and their allies.
0900-1000 local time (0430-0530 GMT)
NEWS 0940: The independent Sahr (Dawn) newspaper reports from the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif that 70% of the population in a survey of five provinces did not have enough information about Sunday's parliamentary and local elections.
Many people said they would vote for President Karzai, even though the presidency is not up for election on this occasion.
0800-0900 local time (0330-0430 GMT)
NEWS 0900: Local radio in the northern Balkh province is leading its news bulletin with a report on the visit of the minister for water and power to the region. The radio says the minister will later be travelling to Faryab Province to lay the foundation stone for a new power station.
DAILY LIVES: Dr Hajirah Zia Baharustani:
I woke up very early at 3am. It's what I do every morning as before I go to hospital I see patients in my own home. This morning seven women were waiting to see me.
The women I saw this morning had travelled throughout the night and came from very far away... mostly, they were suffering from secondary infections due to unsafe abortions and blocked labour.
0600-0700 local time (0130-0230 GMT)
NEWS 0700: The head of US forces in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, predicts a high-turn out in Sunday's parliamentary and provincial elections, despite the threats of disruption from the Taleban.
"I'm confident that the Afghan people will be out there in force on 19 September. When we look back the real heroes are going to be the Afghan people," he tells the BBC's World Today programme.
Gen Eikenberry denied that the Taleban was growing stronger: "Our forces are able to go on the offensive, working in partnership with the Afghan national security forces."
0500-0600 local time (0030-0130 GMT)
DAILY LIVES: Maroof Gulistani, footballer:
This morning, I woke up at 5am and went to football training with my team. I play for the Afghan national team and soon we'll be going to play in Germany.
I train six mornings a week and then travel to work at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
My family are building a house so I leave work every now and then to check on how the building work is going on.
Seema Ghani, head of Kabul orphanage
Security is not as good as one would imagine by now. It has been more than three years of the new government. I still sit in the car and we lock all the doors. I can't allow [the children] to go anywhere alone.
0300-0400 local time (2230-2330 GMT)
NEWS 0315, President Hamid Karzai says the US and other international forces need a fresh approach to defeating militancy in the face of worsening violence.
He tells the BBC there must be a focus on "the sources of terrorism".
The BBC's Andrew North in Kabul says many Afghans will interpret that as meaning neighbouring Pakistan, from where militants often launch attacks.
NEWS 0030, Monday: The former Taleban ambassador to Pakistan has been released after four years at the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
Afghan TV showed Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef being received by the head of the Afghan Peace and Reconciliation Commission in Kabul. Mullah Zaeef became known as 'the face of the Taleban' when he gave regular briefings to journalists in Pakistan during the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.
NEWS 2130, Monday
While Afghans sleep, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf offers to build a fence to prevent militants crossing the two countries' border.
He makes the offer during talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.