Each workday, Sgt. Pari Gul a mom-of three, stands guard at Kabul's East Gate Checkpoint. In a war torn country as religiously conservative as Afghanistan, her very presence is both a warning to militants and a provocation to hardliners.
Gul works the Pol-e-Chakhri checkpoint at the end of an 80-mile stretch that connects the capital to the largest city in the east, Jalalabad.
The road itself is treacherous, widely considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world.
Twisting mountain roads, deep ravines, no speed limits and military camps along the way are a recipe for terrible road accidents. It is also a route for insurgents crossing the border from Pakistan and heading for KabulRead the full story
Does the Taliban or al Qaeda pose a greater threat in a post-bin Laden world? CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom reports.
The mood among the troops at Bagram Air Base, the nerve center of American operations in Afghanistan, is one of cautious optimism. US soldiers acknowledge that the killing of Osama Bin Laden was a big achievement for America, but that their mission here is far from over.