Quick Guide: Afghanistan's challenges
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Soviet invasion

Rise of the Taleban

US-led war



More than 10m people registered for the first direct elections

Years of fighting have left Afghanistan in ruins - it is one of the poorest countries in the world.

International donors have pledged more than $10bn, but the government says it needs more.

In 2004 a constitution was signed and Hamid Karzai won the country's first direct presidential elections.

In 2005 national assembly elections were held.