"The capacity, transparency, legitimacy, and cohesiveness of Afghan governance are crucial to Afghan stability as U.S.-led NATO forces exit Afghanistan by 2016. The size and capability of the Afghan governing structure has increased significantly since the Taliban regime fell in late 2001. But, the government remains rife with corruption and ethnic and political tensions among its major factions are ever present. […] International observers assert that there have been significant gains in civil society, women's rights, and media freedoms since 2001. Those gains have come despite the persistence of traditional attitudes and Islamic conservatism in many parts of Afghanistan--attitudes that cause the judicial and political system to tolerate child marriages and imprisonment of women who flee domestic violence. Islamist influence and tradition has also frequently led to persecution of converts from Islam to Christianity, and to curbs on the sale of alcohol and on Western-oriented media programs. Afghan civil society activists, particularly women's groups, assert that many of these gains are at risk as international forces depart, especially should there be a reconciliation agreement between the government and insurgent leaders.'"
CRS Report for Congress, RS21922