Land theft is a major source of conflict in Afghanistan and threatens stability, say analysts. Protesters near Kabul Tuesday say an MP was involved in stealing their land.
Though NATO-led efforts have focused on democracy in Afghanistan, US forces still rely on Afghan strongmen to wield local influence. But power built on personalities are vulnerable to collapse.
Millions are paid to Afghan private security companies to deliver food and ammunition to NATO troops. But the companies are accused of human rights abuses and paying the Taliban.
Warlords and government corruption may destabilize the country even more than the Taliban, say Afghan and NATO officials. The city of Kandahar reflects this central problem of the Afghanistan war.
Top contenders Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani are campaigning outside their traditional bases and attacking the incumbent.
Though unpopular, the president has more national reach than the shrinking pool of contenders.
Moving the presidential vote up to spring from August could undercut opponents, who still have to plan their campaigns.
Poppy cultivation fell by about 20 percent, after two years of record harvests.
Some tribes have forced insurgents from their area, but many risks remain.