VICE World News discovered a still-flourishing poppy trade in the fields and markets of southern Afghanistan. But amid warnings from Taliban fighters, farmers are worried about their future.
Sgt Alexander Blackman's murder charge has been reduced to manslaughter, but the campaign for his freedom leaves me cold.
The violence came as Amnesty International released a report saying that the number of internally displaced people in Afghanistan has doubled in the last three years.
The insurgents, who largely control the Afghan drug trade, are flush with cash and new recruits after the lucrative poppy harvest in Helmand province.
The Taliban said it seized armored personnel carriers and other equipment after Afghan forces withdrew from bases in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province.
An American solider died and a helicopter was downed as fierce fighting raged between the Taliban and Afghan government forces, but details of the incident remain sparse.
The Afghans reportedly conducted a successful raid on a Taliban prison in Helmand province with minimal help from US forces.
The Taliban is fighting hard to take Helmand, the center of Afghanistan's opium industry, and the national army is able to stop the advance only with help from Western armed forces.
Afghan forces are desperately trying to retain control of Sangin, a district capital in Helmand province, which is on the verge of falling back into Taliban hands.