The child on the left has grown into the woman on the right. The face has changed, but the eyes are still haunting and tell us all we need to know about life in Afghanistan for the people who have been caught up in the wars that have been continuous for the past twenty-one years.
I'd like to think that the Canadian army is in Afghanistan so that her children will be able to get the education Sharbat dreams of them getting. In the nineties, she was able to return to her home village where she was married at age sixteen. (The only day in her life she can recall being happy was her wedding day.) They have no running water, no school, roads, or medical clinics. They grow basic crops on some terraced fields and there is a stream that runs down the mountainside for fresh water.
The debt that is owed the people of her generation cannot be repaid except by providing a future for her children and ensuring that at least she can stay in her village for the rest of her life. This is the task that faces General Fraser and the troops under his command.
If there is a reason for our armies to be in Afghanistan, don't let it be for something as nebulous as the war on terror, or making the world safe for democracy. Let it be to give that face something to smile about again. Then, I think, they will have truly accomplished something magnificent.