As combat operations in Afghanistan are scheduled to draw to a close at the end of 2014, questions about the effectiveness of reconstruction and the country’s future continue to grow.

Meanwhile, in Kabul and barricaded by blast walls and guard towers, the American University of Afghanistan offers a lasting symbol of America’s involvement in Afghanistan. Other than the fortifications, the building stands unassuming, as there is no sign of American influence. There is no American flag or emblem.

Inside the building offers a different story.

With nearly 2,000 students, the first private, not-for-profit university inAfghanistan offers a chance of a higher education, a brighter future and a possible road out of the country.

It’s a place of freedom of speech and a haven where both men and women can converse openly.

The University currently relies on contributions from around the world… including those made through the Friends of the American University ofAfghanistan, a non-profit based in Washington, D.C. You can contribute online today.