Residents of Salar, which has been under Taliban hold the past two years, are embracing the new stability now that the insurgents’ war with the U.S. military and its Afghan allies is over. Those displaced by fighting are returning home. Still, they fear a worsening economic crisis and a drought that is keenly felt in a province where life revolves around the harvest.

 Mina Ahmed smears a cement mixture to strengthen the walls of her war-ravaged home in rural Afghanistan. Her hands, worn by the labor, are bandaged with plastic scraps and elastic bands, but no matter, she welcomes the new era of peace under the Taliban.

She was once apprehensive of the group’s severe style of rule in her village of Salar. But being caught in the crosshairs of a two-decade long war has granted her a new perspective.

Taliban control comes with limits, even for women, and that is alright, the 45-year-old said. “With these restrictions we can live our lives at least.”

But she draws the line on one point: Her daughters, ages 13, 12 and 6, must go to school.

From a bird’s eye view, the village of Salar is camouflaged against a towering mountain range in Wardak province. The community of several thousand, nearly 70 miles from the capital Kabul, serves as a microcosm of the latest chapter in Afghanistan’s history — the second round of rule by the Taliban — showing what has changed and what hasn’t since their first time in power, in the late 1990s.

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