In August 2003 I arrived in Kabul as the first resident Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan. It was a time of hope. Millions of refugees were coming home; schools were opening; the first fully democratic elections took place in 2004-05. Canada’s large-scale commitment was deeply appreciated. But life for many Afghans remained desperate. As Canada’s armed forces deployed to Kandahar, the Taliban and their allies were regrouping just across the border in and around Pakistani cities like Quetta.