Election 2012: Postcard from Kabul

Published 1:44 PM ET, Tue October 9, 2012
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An Afghan merchant takes a bite of a Pop-Tart outside at the Bush Market on October 29, 2006 in Kabul, Afghanistan. The small black market named after ex-U.S. President George W. Bush is flooded with cheap American goods coming from military surplus, as well as some stolen goods. Getty Images/FILE
An Afghan taxi driver sits on the back of a Russian-made cab in Kabul in 2011. Many Afghans fear the war here is dropping down America's list of priorities. AFP/Getty Images/FILE
An Afghan metal scrap merchant pays a rag-picker near a market in Kabul in September. Many in Afghanistan fear the economy, which depends on Western aid and companies, could collapse after NATO troops leave. AFP/Getty Images
For years the vast number of NATO troops and vehicles on Kabul streets was a reminder of Afghanistan's dependency on America, but today Afghan troops have largely replaced them. AFP/Getty Images
But NATO plans to fully hand over operations to Afghan forces by 2014 have been slowed by a recent spate of "green-on-blue" attacks -- deadly insider attacks by Afghan security forces on NATO troops. AFP/Getty Images
More than 50 NATO troops have been killed in insider attacks this year -- and no one knows to what degree NATO can count on the committment of the Afghan National Army after 2014. AFP/Getty Images
Mashal says no matter who wins the U.S. election, they will have to deal with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who even after his final presidential term will remain a major power broker in Afghanistan. AFP/Getty Images/File
Mashal says Karzai feels the Obama administration has tried to undermine him in recent years, especially during his most recent presidential election bid. AFP/Getty Images
While Karzai might be favoring a return of the Republicans, one Afghan lawmaker believes the Afghan president won't enjoy as warm a relationship with the party even if Mitt Romney wins. AFP/Getty Images