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Afghanistan's Helmand a quicksand of instability

Bruised and frightened, three-year-old Fatima flinches as the thunderous boom of Taliban rockets rolls across the capital of Helmand, an opium-ravaged province that epitomises the biggest failure of the 15-year US-led war in Afghanistan. For years Helmand was the centerpiece of the Western military intervention in Afghanistan only for it to slip deeper into a quagmire of instability, with almost the entire southern province teetering on the verge of collapse.
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