US troops in the southern Philippines work to undercut militancy with projects such as better roads, fatter cattle, and a new school, which opened last week.
The US and Philippines can claim many successes since joining forces in counterterrorism after 9/11, but uprooting militancy altogether remains elusive.
A government-appointed group began working Thursday to disband 132 militias used by politicians to intimidate rivals, after one allegedly killed 57 people in a southern Philippines massacre. Critics worry that only opposition figures' armies will be broken up.
Malabon Zoo owner Manny Tangco blows a horn with children outside a Bengal tiger glass enclosure as they celebrate the coming Year of the Tiger in Manila, Philippines, on Dec. 31.
Three Indian Muslim women enjoy the last sunset of 2009 in the Arabian Sea in Mumbai, India, on Thursday.
A young Pakistani Christian girl eats a piece of bread while playing with her friends (not shown) in a Christian neighborhood in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Wednesday.
A cleaner fish swims out of the mouth of a green moray at the tropical aquarium of the Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg, Germany, on Dec. 29.
An Israeli Arab boy dressed up as Santa Claus sits in a cardboard box during a Christmas parade through the town of Nazareth on Christmas Eve, Thursday.
Jacob Schneider of the Connecticut National Guard, 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry Regiment hugs his mother Lori Schneider (r.) at the William A. O'Neill Armory in Hartford, Conn. on Wednesday. Two units of the Connecticut National Guard are returning home for the holidays, thanks to a fundraising effort that will bus them back to the state from bases in Wisconsin and Indiana. They have been training for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan early in the new year.
German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) wear Santa Claus hats as they attend a Christmas celebration at Camp Marmal in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, on Dec. 22.