Afghanistan: April 2013

Last month, reports surfaced, later confirmed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has been delivering bags of cash to Karzai for a decade, in part to buy continued access and cooperation during the war. The New York Times reported that the payments had not resulted in the influence the CIA sought, and had instead fueled corruption and empowered warlords. A further report by the U.N. stated that opium cultivation across Afghanistan had increased for the third year in a row. As Western troops continue the long process of preparing for their December 2014 withdrawal, evidence of significant progress in Afghanistan remains elusive. The photos below are just a glimpse of this conflict over the past month, part of the ongoing series here on Afghanistan. [39 photos total]

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An Afghan woman in a burqa walks along a road on a windy day on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, on April 16, 2013. (Reuters/Mohammad Ismail) #
An Afghan National Army commando from 1st Company, 7th Special Operations Kandak, receives feedback on his firing technique from commandos instructors during a range in Washer district, Helmand province, on April 22, 2013. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Benjamin Tuck) #
Afghans at the Karte Sakhi cemetery on the foot of Karte Sakhi's Shrine in the foothills of TV Mountain in Kabul, on April 26, 2013. The shrine is the second most sacred place of Shia worship in Afghanistan. (Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images) #
(1 of 2) People carry a schoolgirl who fell ill after smelling gas at her school, to the hospital in Kabul, on May 1, 2013. Over 150 schoolgirls in Kabul fell sick after smelling gas and drinking water, and were being examined for possible poisoning, hospital officials said on Wednesday. (Reuters/Mohammad Ismail) #
(2 of 2) Afghan school girls receive treatment after becoming ill, at a hospital in Kabul, on May 1, 2013. Amanullah Eman, a spokesman for the Education Ministry, said some students were briefly hospitalized but all were doing well. He said a number of factors were being investigated, including the use of fertilizers in nearby farm land. (AP Photo/Ahmad Jamshid) #
Afghan visitors to the Qargha Lake reservoir walk past flowering trees along a pathway in Kabul, on April 26, 2013. The reservoir, which provides the bulk of water supply to the Afghan capital, is also a recreational area for nearby residents. (Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images) #
A man walks on a hill overlooking Kabul, on April 13, 2013. (Reuters/Mohammad Ismail) #
Wilbur, a U.S. Marine Special Operations Team member, wears his handler's helmet after a patrol with Afghan National Army special forces to escort a district governor to a school in Helmand province, on April 15, 2013. (USMC/Sgt. Pete Thibodeau) #
An Afghan National Army Special Forces (ANASF) member fires a rocket propelled grenade on a range during training in Washer district, Helmand province, on April 20, 2013. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Benjamin Tuck) #
A heavily armed Afghan policeman destroys an opium poppy field in Noorgal district of Kunar province, east of Kabul, on April 13, 2013. When foreign troops arrived in Afghanistan in 2001, one of their goals was to stem drug production. Instead, they have concentrated on fighting insurgents, and have often been accused of turning a blind eye to the poppy fields. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #
An Afghan Local Police officer looks through a hole made by a rocket fired previously by insurgents at the Budyali check post, during a patrol by 2nd Platoon Bravo Company, 1-3271 Infantry of Combined Team Bastogne (Nangarhar), 1st Brigade Combat Team, in Kush Kunar district, on April 7, 2013. (Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images) #
Afghan schoolgirls study during a lesson in Qala-i-Gudar village in Qarabagh district Kabul province, on April 3, 2013. At the school in a bombed-out Afghan village near Kabul, Angelina Jolie is known as an aid worker or engineer -- never as one of the world's most famous film stars. Jolie, a special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, built the school in Qala-i-Gudar last year and is planning to open more in Afghanistan with profits from a newly-launched jewelery line that she has designed. The Hollywood star visited Qala-i-Gudar in 2011, and she retains an avid fan base among residents who have never seen any of her films and have no idea about her global fame as an actress. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images) #
U.S. Marines assigned to Border Patrol Advisor Team and Combat Service Support Kandak, Regimental Combat Team 7, conduct live-fire training on Camp Leatherneck, Helmand province, on April 4, 2013. (USMC/Staff Sgt. Ezekiel R. Kitandwe) #
Two MV-22B Osprey aircraft with with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 264 (VMM-264), fly into Helmand province, on April 10, 2013. (USMC/Sgt. Gabriela Garcia) #
U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Travis E. Bugar, an aircraft rescue firefighter with Marine Wing Support Squadron 271, plays guitar during his free time on Forward Operating Base Delaram, Helmand province, on April 7, 2013. (USMC/Staff Sgt. Ezekiel R. Kitandwe/Released) #
Leaflets are airdropped from a Polish Mi-17 helicopter, from Forward Operating Base Ghazni, for the upcoming Ghazni festival, in Ghazni province, on April 12, 2013. The leaflet drop was conducted in an effort to reduce violence during the upcoming festival. (U.S. Army/1st Lt. Jared S. Blair) #
An Afghan policeman stands guard in central Kabul, on April 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Jawad Jalali) #
An Afghan woman walks past graffiti with Persian writing that reads, "freedom" in Kabul, Afghanistan, on April 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #
Afghan boys wait for backpacks at the all-boys Pashtu Abad school in Ghazni district, Ghazni province, on April 20, 2013. Khalilullah Hotak, a member of the Nejat Social Council of Ghazni province, distributed backpacks and desks to the school that teaches over 600 boys. (U.S. Army/Spc. Jessica Reyna DeBooy/Released) #
A T-Hawk aerial vehicle, operated by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Benjamin Parale, assigned to the 232rd Security Force Assistance Advisory Team, flies over Forward Operating Base Zeebruge in Kajaki District, Helmand province, on April 11, 2013. The Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) provides reconnaissance, surveillance, and targeting acquisition capabilities. (USMC/Cpl. Trent A. Randolph) #
(1 of 3) Soldiers from both 3rd Tolai, 6th Kandak and 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment came to the aid and rescue of a 3-year-old boy who had fallen 30 feet down a well in Maiwand province, on April 7, 2013. (U.S. Army/Capt. Jennifer Dyrcz) #
(2 of 3) Soldiers send down a rope with chem lights to get view of the depth of a well that a young boy had fallen into, in Maiwand Province, on April 7, 2013. (U.S. Army/Capt. Jennifer Dyrcz) #
(3 of 3) A young boy is lifted by a U.S. Soldier with the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, rescued from a well in Maiwand province, on April 7, 2013. (U.S. Army/Capt. Jennifer Dyrcz) #
Dust rises near the destroyed Darul Aman palace in Kabul, on April 6, 2013. (Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images) #
Seen through night-vision optics, a U.S. coalition service member, working with Afghan National Army commandos of 6th Special Operations Kandak, searches for suspicious activity after a clearing operation in Sarobi district, Kabul province, on April 19, 2013. (U.S. Army/Pfc. James K. McCann) #
An Afghan man and his son watch their sheep graze in front of the Hindu Kush Mountains near Bagram on the outskirts of Kabul, on April 5, 2013. (Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images) #
(1 of 2) Afghan National Army soldiers, at the site of a suicide attack in Farah province on April 4, 2013. Taliban gunmen who killed 46 people at an Afghan court complex in a bid to free insurgents standing trial moved ruthlessly from room to room, shooting everyone they found, officials recounted on April 3. Defenseless civilians, judges, lawyers and court staff were left dead after nine militants disguised as Afghan soldiers launched an eight-hour assault which only ended after security forces finally killed the last surviving gunman. (Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images) #

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(2 of 2) Afghan National Army soldiers inspect the dead body of an insurgent on the floor of a room at a court house in Farah province, on April 4, 2013. (Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images) #
A Burqa-clad Afghan woman walks on the street on the outskirts of Herat, on April 20, 2013. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images) #
A US army soldier purchases DVDs during a weekly bazaar at forward base Honaker Miracle at Watahpur District in Kunar province, on April 16, 2013. (Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Afghan woman displays a small carpet with an image of US president Barack Obama and his family that she wove, during an exhibition of Afghanistan women's craftwork in Herat, on April 10, 2013. (Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images) #
A U.S. Black Hawk helicopter arrives, after a NATO helicopter crashed killing two American service members in a field near Gerakhel, eastern Afghanistan, on April 9, 2013. The U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said the cause of the crash is under investigation but initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #
An Afghan boy sits on his cart as he waits for customers in Kabul, on April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
U.S. Marines with Delta Company, 1st Tank Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 7, park an M1A1 Abrams tank at Camp Shir Ghazay, Helmand province, on April 27, 2013. (USMC/Staff Sgt. Ezekiel R. Kitandwe) #
An Afghan girl carries a child on her back on the outskirts of Herat, on April 9, 2013. (Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civilian Hyun K. Shin, as U.S. Air Force Col. John Devillier, right, U.S. Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations, and Major Gen. John G. Rossi, second from right, Director, U.S. Army Quadrennial Defense Review Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, salute, on April 8, 2013, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. According to the Department of Defense, Shin, of Hesperia, California, died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) #
Afghanistan security forces investigate the site of a roadside bomb blast in Saidabad district of Wardak province, on April 8, 2013. A roadside bomb exploded under an Afghan bus southwest of Kabul, killing nine people and wounding at least 22 others in an attack blamed on Taliban militants, officials said. (Rahmatullah Alizad/AFP/Getty Images) #
Afghan prisoner Fauzia stares through the prison bars at Badam Bagh, Afghanistan's central women's prison, in Kabul, on March 28, 2013. Fauzia is the oldest woman in jail and has served already seven years in jail. She is serving a 17 year sentence for killing her husband and her daughter-in-law. "I was in one room. I came into the next room and they were there having sexual relations. I found a big knife and killed them both," she said in a voice empty of emotion. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
An Afghan fisherman paddles a rubber raft into the Kabul river to fish on the outskirts of Mehtar Lam in Laghman Province, on April 27, 2013. (Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images) #

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