In a tough day for NATO troops in Afghanistan, a man in an Afghan military uniform kills four French troops and a helicopter accident costs other NATO troops' lives.
With tough tactics and promises of security, it aims to position itself as a stronger brand of government.
Corruption pressures test the integrity of rag-tag provincial committees as they sift through Afghanistan election complaints.
Promises of cash and jobs – rather than ideological pledges – help prompt fighters to lay down their arms. But questions remain about the program's efficacy.
Taliban attacks are up, making this the worst season since the insurgency began and spurring greater Western troop deployments.