Afghanistan is entering a new phase after the Afghan people went to the polls with so much enthusiasm a few days ago. Whatever the result of the election, with NATO troops continuing their withdrawal, it is clear that the burden of responsibility for the country now rests with the Afghans themselves. However, it is vital that the international community do not lose interest, and that western governments in particular do not now consider their responsibility to the Afghan people to be over.
We need to focus as never before on the poorest and most vulnerable communities across the country, investing above all in the infrastructure of basic health and education services that will help lift people out of poverty. Afghanistan needs more schools, more health clinics and more trained teachers and health professionals to staff them.
Good old Vlad is propping up the news again as the shiftiest world leader. Apart from Kim Jong Un. Or Xi Jinping. Or King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Or - who's that bloke who controls the biggest, most notorious 'intelligence' agency in the world? Oh, of course, US President Barack Obama. Or, for that matter, his chum David Cameron...
For those who do manage to reach health facilities, actual care often remains elusive because of cost. In Khost, in the east of the country, and in the capital, Kabul, roughly half the people surveyed by MSF borrowed money or sold what they could to pay for medicines or doctors' fees during a recent illness. Several sought care in neighbouring Pakistan.
Feminism (and a concerted backlash against it) is all over the internet, all over the media and all over student campuses. Feminism is, like, "cool"...at last! Maybe it's not surprising then that in January Cameron said the UK should "lead the charge on women's equality worldwide". For a prime minister who isn't sure whether he's a feminist or not, that's quite a commitment.
While there is still work to do here too, I easily count myself lucky to be a woman in the UK. I have three grandsons and I hope that my next grandchild will be a girl. If I was a woman in Afghanistan, I would want all my grandchildren to be boys. On International Women's Day let our mantra be that if it isn't good enough for women here then it isn't good enough for women anywhere.
As Britain approaches the end of its combat operations in Afghanistan, the usual fanfare associated with victory in war will be notably absent. No triumphal parades, no formal surrender ceremony, and no heroic march into an enemy's capital. As Churchill wrote in 1897, "the victory must be looked for in the results."
What fragile progress on women's rights there has been in recent years is down to the work of Afghan women activists, and it will be down to them to ensure that progress is protected and bettered in the months and years ahead. But their ability to do so will be seriously undermined if their security cannot be assured.