KABUL, Afghanistan -- Western aid workers drive past Afghan beggars cradling naked, dirty children. US military vehicles race through trash-strewn streets with their guns pointed into traffic.
To many Afghans, foreigners are a privileged elite, earning hefty salaries and given to drinking alcohol while this shattered Islamic nation remains mired in violence and poverty.
That divide helped stoke Monday's deadly anti-Western riots, the latest of several bouts of unrest that have wracked Afghanistan in the past year. The worst riots seen in Kabul for years began after a US military truck whose brakes failed careered down a hill and plowed into cars at an intersection, killing at least one Afghan.
Afghans generally are grateful to the US-led military alliance for ousting the Taliban in 2001 and welcome help from international charities. But many residents also long to lift themselves out of poverty and take control of their destinies, more than four years after the downfall of the Taliban's strict Islamic rule.
``We don't want these foreigners; they should go home. They're damaging our society, the economy is terrible, and we're so poor. And they're looting Afghanistan. Why aren't they building factories?" asked Faisal Agha, who was injured in the riots that left at least 11 dead and scores wounded.
``Now there's prostitution, alcohol. There's more vice," the 45-year-old policeman said from his hospital bed, his eyes puffy and face bruised after falling during Monday's chaos.
Between 3,000 and 4,000 foreign civilians are believed to be working in Afghanistan alongside 23,000 American troops and 9,000 members of a NATO-led multinational force, mostly from Western countries.
Foreign intervention has been a thread running through the past quarter-century of strife in Afghanistan.
Soviet forces invaded in 1979, and Arab fighters helped drive them out a decade later. After the Taliban took control in 1996, establishing a theocracy that banned music and television, and sheltered Osama bin Laden.
The US-led invasion in late 2001 pushed the Taliban aside, a wrenching change that exposed many Afghans directly to Western culture for the first time as aid workers and military forces came to help rebuild the nation.
Four years later, many Afghans are unimpressed by what they have seen, although they are quick to distinguish between foreigners who are here to help and those seen as a negative influence.
``We have two kinds of foreigners here. Those that indulge in prostitution and alcohol, and we reject them," said Mohammed Anwar, standing outside a shop still smoldering yesterday after rioters burned it because they believed it sold alcohol.
``But the others have come to help us in reconstruction, and we welcome them," said the unemployed 45-year-old father of eight. ``And they're far more numerous."
Even Afghans' famed hospitality -- tea or soft drinks are mandatory for all guests -- is being strained by the economic inequities and foreign military presence.
Unemployment for Afghans is about 40 percent, while foreigners live in spacious compounds and maneuver expensive four-wheel-drive vehicles past blue-shrouded women holding unclothed children and begging for money.
Rents in some areas have risen by 1,000 percent since the Taliban's ouster as international organizations have moved in, pricing most Afghans out of the market.
Prices of mutton quadrupled as comparatively expensive restaurants with largely foreign clientele blossomed around Kabul.
While the economy grew by 8 percent last year -- spurred by the influx of aid and illicit revenues from the drug industry -- many Afghans now feel worse off because inflation reached 16 percent.
There also is anger over the civilian deaths caused by coalition military action against Taliban guerrillas. The latest incident occurred last week, when a US airstrike killed at least 16 civilians in a southern village. A rights group said as many as 34 civilians died.
During the past four years, at least 180 civilians have died as a result of coalition action, according to a count based on Associated Press reports. The US military says it does all it can to prevent such casualties.
After Monday's traffic accident in Kabul, rioters stoned the American vehicles and then poured into the city center, looting goods and ransacking the offices of foreign aid groups, buildings associated with the US-backed government of President Hamid Karzai, stores where liquor was believed sold and a brothel.
At least 11 people were killed, most of them from gunshot wounds, according to three city hospitals. More than 100 people were wounded.