Reporters on the Job

Afghan Patterns: Staff writer Scott Baldauf has been traveling to Afghanistan and hearing about corruption and drugs and the slow pace of reconstruction almost from the very fall of the Taliban in 2001. "For more than four years, I chalked this up to unrealistic expectations. But on this trip, I heard even the most optimistic of my sources - aid workers, diplomats, government officials - saying that things had taken a dramatic turn for the worst," says Scott.

He's a fan of the Afghan people and hopes the country turns around, so he wasn't eager to write a story that put all these various negative trends together into a single piece. "The last thing I would want is to give a sense of hopelessness, leading people to simply give up on Afghanistan. But these problems need to be seen, and when they combine to undermine the authority of the government and the foreign presence here, they can't be ignored," he says.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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