Quick Guide: Afghanistan's challenges
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Soviet invasion

Rise of the Taleban

US-led war



Most of the world's heroin comes from Afghanistan

Islamic militants, warlords and the booming drugs trade are among the greatest threats to stability.

The authorities have limited power outside Kabul, and huge swathes of the country are controlled by warlords once funded by the US to fight the Taleban.

Many of these powerful regional militia chiefs have a history of drug trafficking and human rights abuses.

The state of lawlessness is fuelled by the opium trade which despite a ban on poppy crops generated $2.3bn in 2003.