At least 24 Afghan commandos and five police officers were killed this week after they were surrounded by the Taliban in northern Afghanistan, according to local and Afghan military officials. It was a profound blow to the elite force at a time when such troops often serve as the only units keeping the insurgents from capturing more territory.
Just a few miles north of the Afghan capital, a sleepy village of apple and grape orchards prang to attention last week. Old rifles were brought out from closets and several hundred men athered excitedly on the main street, hoisting their battered weapons and raising war whoops for the news cameras.
This year in an attempt to revive film culture in Kabul, the documentary maker Diana Saqeb Jamal launched a new venture: I-Khanom, a cinema that aims to provide a safe environment for women and families to watch films. The name means Lady Moon, and comes from a city supposedly founded by Alexander the Great.