From the Christian Science Monitor (and by no means isolated in its description):
Nearly five years after the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan's security situation continues to be dragged down by endemic corruption, roving militias, and a growing nexus between narco-warlords and remnants of the Taliban, officials and analysts say.
The melting snows of spring often bring an uptick in violence, as rebels emerge from their mountain redoubts. Yet there are indications of a deepening instability beyond the seasonal surge.
More than 70 foreign troops, mostly Americans, have been killed this past year, making it the deadliest period since the conflict began. Violence, meanwhile, seems to be spreading beyond the volatile south, encroaching on areas formerly considered outside the zones of conflict.
"What is often labeled as Taliban violence is not," says Joanna Nathan, a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group in Kabul. "It's a whole set of fluid alliances, cross- border attacks from Pakistan, drugs, tribal feuds, and of course the Taliban."
What these security issues have in common, she and others say, is the poor governance and official corruption among provincial governors, police chiefs, and others tasked with securing the country and bringing development. The implication: Stabilizing the country increasingly means providing better government.
"The state we're in now is because of the policy decision to co-opt those people who in the past committed human rights abuses. There's a culture of impunity. They continue in many cases to abuse the rights of people under them," says Ms. Nathan, adding that this not only causes violent flare-ups, but creates sympathy for the Taliban. These troubles, she says, are by no means limited to the south. "There are drug problems in the north, tribal problems, sheer criminality."