Two U.S. soldiers with an Afghan colleague, right, secure a position behind a mud wall on Sept. 8, at a compound during a random stop to collect biodata from a villager as they carry out a joint patrol of the Morghan-Khecha village in Daman district, Kandahar province. Afghanistan's first vice president warned deteriorating security could jeopardize transparent elections in 2014 as Kabul prepares to take over from NATO troops. President Hamid Karzai, who has been the only elected head of state in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion brought down the Taliban, is due to stand down in 2014. His re-election in 2009 was accompanied by allegations of widespread fraud and the international community sees the next vote as one of the last major hurdles before NATO combat troops withdraw at the end of 2014.
Tony Karumba / AFP - Getty Images