October 21, 2014, Reuters: Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has hit an all-time high despite years of counter-narcotics efforts that have cost the US 7.6bn USD (4.7bn GBP), according to a US government watchdog. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime reported that Afghan farmers grew an “unprecedented” 209,000 hectares (523,000 acres) of opium poppy in 2013, surpassing the previous high of 193,000 hectares in 2007, said John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.
October 19, 2014, The Killid Group: While the process of disarming local commanders has stretched over six years little has changed on the ground in Kunduz, Ghazni and Bamyan. Locals complain of harassment and extortion at the hands of armed gunmen - both individuals and members of the Afghan Local Police (ALP).
October 18, 2014, Stars and Stripes: Mohammad Wazir is 12. Or maybe 13. He doesn’t know for sure. One thing is certain: Growing up in rural Helmand province, Mohammad has seen more war than anyone should, let alone a young boy.
October 16, 2014, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism: Afghanistan is the most drone bombed country in the world. The US has been using its Predator and Reaper drones to kill people in Afghanistan since November 2001. Research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, featured this week in a report by the Remote Control project, has found more than 1,000 drone attacks hit the country from the start of 2008 to the end of October 2012.
October 15, 2014, Cicero Magazine: The correspondence between the chief of the US watchdog on Afghanistan reconstruction and the administrator of the UN’s development agency over a trust fund bankrolling the Afghan police force is an entertaining read. In a series of letters, John Sopko, special inspector general, alleged that the UN agency mismanaged the trust fund, known as LOTFA, allowing the Afghan interior ministry to milk 200 million USD in “deductions.”