FSI score: 106
From corruption and intrigue surrounding President Hamid Karzai's rule to an unyielding reliance on the opium trade to being the world's most hostile country for women, Afghanistan unquestionably checks just about every box for state failure. And that's aside from the decade-long war that shows no signs of an immediate resolution, despite U.S. plans to withdraw troops as early as 2013. The chances of success for NATO's upcoming security handover to the Afghans depend precariously on cooperation from Pakistan, as well as whether the Taliban -- lately resurgent in the country's north -- can be contained. Afghanistan's trajectory on the Failed States Index -- where it has inched up from No. 11 in 2005 to No. 6 this year -- unfortunately does not bode well.
In the above prize-winning photo, a girl screams while surrounded by the bodies of a suicide attack in Kabul on Dec. 6, 2011. More than 70 people lost their lives in the bombing.
MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images