Taliban

Afghan Local Police (ALP) cadets look ou...Afghan Local Police (ALP) cadets look out from windows during their graduation ceremony at a police training centre in Mazar-i-Sharif on August 22, 2013. Afghan police have been killed and injured since March 21 in what would be an astonishing rate of around 22 a day. Afghanistan's 350,000-strong security forces have suffered a steep rise in attacks as the NATO combat mission winds down.

Farshad Usyan/AFP

Local Afghan police cadets take a window seat at their graduation ceremony at a police training centre in Mazar-i-Sharif, the fourth-largest city of Afghanistan, on Thursday. Afghan police have been killed and injured since March 21 this year in what would be an astonishing rate of about 22 a day. Afghanistan’s 350,000-strong security forces have experienced a steep rise in attacks as the Nato combat mission winds down 

Afghan girls from the Mobile Mini Circus Children (MMCC) pose for pictures during a show in Kabul...Afghan girls from the Mobile Mini Circus Children (MMCC) pose for pictures during a show in Kabul August 17, 2013. Afghanistan's Mobile Mini Circus for Children would have been heretical under the Taliban, when music was banned by the Islamic fundamentalist movement and girls were forbidden from performing in public and going to school. But today the circus, founded by Danish dance instructor David Mason to teach cooperation and creativity to children scarred by years of war, is one of few projects expanding despite a drop in international aid to Afghanistan. Picture taken August 17, 2013.    REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: SOCIETY)

Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

Afghan girls from the Mobile Mini Circus Children (MMCC) pose for pictures during a show in Kabul. Afghanistan‘s Mobile Mini Circus for Children would have been heretical under the Taliban, when music was banned by the Islamic fundamentalist movement and girls were forbidden from performing in public and going to school. But today the circus, founded by Danish dance instructor David Mason to teach co-operation and creativity to children scarred by years of war, is one of only a few such projects expanding in the country. 

Afghans cover themselves from dust, during a dusty day in Kabul...Afghans cover themselves from dust, during a dusty day in Kabul August 16, 2013. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT)

Omar Sobhani/Reuters

Afghans protect themselves from dust in Kabul on Friday

A former Taliban fighter looks on during...A former Taliban fighter looks on during a ceremony after joining Afghan government forces in Herat on August 7, 2013. About 100,000 foreign combat troops, 68,000 of them from the US, are due to exit by the end of 2014, and NATO formally transferred responsibility for nationwide security to Afghan forces a week ago. AFP PHOTO/ Aref KarimAref iKarimi/AFP/Getty Images

Aref iKarimi/AFP

A former Taliban fighter looks on during a ceremony after joining Afghan government forces in Herat on Wednesday. About 100,000 foreign combat troops, 68,000 of them from the US, are due to leave by the end of 2014, and NATO formally transferred responsibility for nationwide security to Afghan forces a week ago. 

An Afghan policeman talks to a civilian standing behind a door near the site of a suicide attack in Kabul...An Afghan policeman talks to a civilian standing behind a door near the site of a suicide attack in Kabul July 2, 2013. Taliban insurgents including a suicide bomber in a truck killed six people in the attack on a foreign logistics and supply company in Kabul on Tuesday. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

An Afghan policeman on Tuesday talks to a civilian standing behind a door near the site of a suicide attack in Kabul. Taliban insurgents including a suicide bomber in a truck killed six people in the attack on a foreign logistics and supply company in the city. 

An Afghan security force stands guard as a ambulance arrive near entrance gate of the Presidential palace in Kabul

Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images

An Afghan security force stands guard as an ambulance arrives near the entrance gate of the presidential palace in Kabul on Tuesday after Taliban militants targeted the palace and the CIA office.

Afghan Local Police (ALP) attend their g...Afghan Local Police (ALP) attend their graduation ceremony in Laghman province on June 24, 2013. Afghan forces took control of security across the country on June 18, marking a major milestone as US-led combat troops prepare to withdraw after 12 years of fighting the Taliban. AFP PHOTO/ Noorullah ShirzadaNoorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images

Noorullah Shirzada.AFP

Afghan local police attend their graduation ceremony in Laghman Province on Monday. Afghan forces took control of security across the country on June 18, marking a milestone as US-led troops prepare to withdraw after 12 years of fighting the Taliban

Iraqi citizens are searched before casting their votes during the country's provincial elections in Fallujah, Iraq, Thursday, June 20, 2013. Iraqis in two Sunni-dominated provinces voted Thursday in provincial elections marked by tight security measures that left streets in former insurgent strongholds largely deserted. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Khalid Mohammed/AP

Iraqi citizens are searched before casting their votes during the country’s provincial elections in Fallujah, Iraq, on Thursday. Iraqis in two Sunni-dominated provinces voted Thursday in provincial elections marked by tight security measures that left streets in former insurgent strongholds largely deserted 

Returning Afghan refugees, who have recently arrived from Pakistan, wait during the registration process at a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) center on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday, June 20, 2013, as they prepare to return to their province after fleeing civil war and Taliban rule. World Refugee Day, a day initiated by the United Nations to raise awareness on the plight of refugees worldwide, is observed on June 20 every year.

Rahmat Gul/AP

After recently returning from Pakistan, Afghan refugees wait during the registration process at a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees center near Kabul, Afghanistan, as they prepare to go back to their province after fleeing civil war and Taliban rule. World Refugee Day, initiated by the United Nations to raise awareness on the plight of refugees worldwide, is observed on June 20 every year.

An Afghan amputee practices walking with her prosthetic leg at one of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) hospitals for war victims and the disabled in Kabul June 5, 2013.  The Red Cross halted work across Afghanistan on June 6 to pay a one-day tribute to the guard killed outside its offices in Jalalabad city in an unprecedented militant attack on the aid organisation.

Shah Marai/AFP

An Afghan amputee practices walking with her prosthetic leg at one of the International Committee of the Red Cross hospitals for war victims and the disabled in Kabul. 

TOPSHOTS Afghan children play at a gover...TOPSHOTS Afghan children play at a government kindergarten on June 4, 2013. Tens of thousands of children in Afghanistan, driven by poverty, work on the streets of the war-torn country's cities and often fall prey to Taliban bombings and other violence, as well as abuse. AFP PHOTO/ Rahmatullah ALIZADARAHMATULLAH ALIZADA/AFP/Getty Images

Rahmatullah Alizada/AFP

Afghan children play at a government kindergarten on Tuesday. Tens of thousands of children in Afghanistan, driven by poverty, work on the streets of the war-torn country’s cities and often fall prey to Taliban bombings and other violence, as well as abuse

Smoke rises from the International Red Cross building after a gun battle between security forces and an insurgent, in Jalalabad east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 29, 2013. A senior Afghan official said security forces rescued seven foreigners working for the International Red Cross on Wednesday after a two-hour-long gun battle with an insurgent at a guest house in the eastern city of Jalalabad. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Rahmat Gul/AP

Smoke rises from the International Red Cross building after a two-hour gun battle between security forces and an insurgent at a guest house in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday. A senior Afghan official said security forces rescued seven foreigners working for the charity 

TOPSHOTS Afghan defence personnel inspec...TOPSHOTS Afghan defence personnel inspect the scene following a suicide attack in Bazarak district, Panjshir province, on May 29, 2013. Afghan security forces killed six suicide bombers who attacked the Panjshir provincial governor's office early on May 29, officials said, in an assault on one the the most stable areas of the country. AFP PHOTO/ SHAH MaraiSHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images

Shah Mara/AFP

Defence personnel in Afghanistan inspect the scene following a suicide attack in Bazarak district, Panjshir province, on Wednesday. Afghan security forces killed six suicide bombers who attacked the governor’s office, officials said, in an assault in one of the most stable areas of the country 

An arrested Taliban fighter is displayed...An arrested Taliban fighter is displayed to the media in Panjwai district of Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan on May 28, 2013. Suspected Taliban militants killed seven police in southern Afghanistan after persuading the officers to invite them into their checkpoint for dinner, officials said on Tuesday. A total of 14 Afghan police and soldiers have died over the last two days as Taliban insurgents increased attacks as part of their annual "spring offencive" launched last month. AFP PHOTO/ JANGIRJANGIR/AFP/Getty Images

Jangir/AFP

An arrested Taliban fighter is displayed to the media in Panjwai District, Kandahar Province, on Tuesday. Suspected Taliban militants killed seven police in southern Afghanistan after persuading the officers to invite them into their checkpoint for dinner, officials said. A total of 14 Afghan police and soldiers have died over the past two days as Taliban insurgents increased attacks as part of their annual spring offensive, which started last month. 

Afghan farmers collect raw opium as they work in a poppy field in Khogyani district of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, May 10, 2013. Opium poppy cultivation has been increasing for a third year in a row and is heading for a record high, the U.N. said in a report. Poppy cultivation is also dramatically increasing in areas of the southern Taliban heartland, the report showed, especially in regions where thousands of U.S.-led coalition troops have been withdrawn or are in the process of departing. The report indicates that whatever international efforts have been made to wean local farmers off the crop have failed.

Rahmat Gul/AP

Afghan farmers collect raw opium as they work in a poppy field in Khogyani district of Jalalabad, east of Kabul in Afghanistan. Opium poppy cultivation has been increasing for a third year in a row and is heading for a record high, the UN said in a report. Poppy cultivation is also increasing in areas of the southern Taliban heartland, the report showed, especially in regions where thousands of US-led coalition troops have been withdrawn or are in the process of departing. The report indicates that whatever international efforts have been made to wean local farmers off the crop have failed.

Supporters of Pakistani politician and f...Supporters of Pakistani politician and former cricketer Imran Khan stand next to electoral poster of Khan at the venue of an election campaign meeting by Khan's party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Islamabad on May 9, 2013. Khan will address the final rally for his centre-right Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party in the capital Islamabad by live video link from his Lahore hospital bed.  Saturday's vote will be a democratic milestone in a country ruled for half its history by the military but the Pakistani Taliban have condemned it as un-Islamic. AFP PHOTO / AAMIR QURESHIAAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images

Aamir Qureshiaamir/AFP

Supporters of Imran Khan, Pakistani politician and former cricketer, stand next to his electoral poster at the venue of an election campaign meeting by his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI), or Movement for Justice party, in Islamabad on Thursday. Mr Khan is due to make an address at the final rally by live video link from his Lahore hospital bed, following his fall from a makeshift lift during a meeting on Tuesday. The election this Saturday will be a democratic milestone in a country that has been ruled for half its history by the military, but the Pakistani Taliban have condemned it as un-Islamic