A boy travels by donkey while leading a string of camels through a security checkpoint outside of Mazar-e Sharif in northern Afghanistan.
It's no secret that corruption is rampant in Afghanistan. CNN's Fred Pleitgen takes us inside a makeshift government facility where some people have to pay nearly half their annual salary - most of it in bribes - just to register a car.
The Mine Detection Agency in Afghanistan has been using dogs to clear mines and unexploded bombs since 1989 and operated even when the Taliban were in power. They currently have more than 300 dogs and operate all over Afghanistan. The agency breeds its own dogs and training starts from when the animals are born. Officials say mine dogs can clear fields more reliably and faster than any other mine clearance tool. CNN followed a day of training with the dogs. See more of the photos or watch the video
Kabul, Afghanistan - In Kabul, the mayor has been convicted of corruption, but continues to work as the city leader. Abdul Ahad Sahebi was sentenced to four years in prison after being judged guilty of awarding a city construction contract without bidding. Sahebi says there's no proof. "It is baseless, without any evidence. without any foundation," he says.
The deputy attorney general Fazil Ahmad Faqeer Yar disagrees. "The court has ordered his dismissal," he says. "So everything he is doing now is illegal."
The matter goes to the heart of NATO's new strategy in Afghanistan - additional troops can bring short-term security but the U.S. says Afghanistan's government needs to crack down on rampant corruption as well.
On paper the Afghan government has executive, legislative and judicial branches, with a political model that resembles those of other democratic states. The country has a constitution that provides equality to all. But even as Hamid Karzai was sworn in for a second term as president in November following a fraud-marred election, the international community was pressuring the leader for reform.
The government is plagued with allegations of corruption, cronyism and warlords – with some questioning whether democracy can ever work in Afghanistan. FULL POST
Thirty thousand more troops by the summer. It's a daunting challenge laid out by President Obama, and it's now having the U.S. military scrambling to get it done.
Obama said Tuesday night the additional 30,000 troops would begin deploying early next year at "the fastest pace possible."
But before Obama's address, military leaders said it would be all but impossible to rush new troops to Afghanistan as quickly as they did Iraq.
A lot of it is going to be dictated by conditions on the ground: Can they build the new bases, the new roads, new infrastructure to handle this influx of troops?
CNN's Fred Pleitgen is with U.S. troops in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and he reports that most soldiers he has been talking to agree with an expected strategy a troop increase. They say more boots on the ground are needed to help hold key areas in Afghanistan, especially in the southern part of the country.
Revisiting the 4th Engineer Battalion, a U.S. unit deployed to Afghanistan six months ago, CNN's Frede Pleitgen reports on their changes and challenges. The unit has lost 11 men in Afghanistan, most of them to IEDs, or improvised explosive devices.