A Scandal in Belgravia (abridged)
  • John: *glances tragically at Sherlock* He will never love me.
  • John: But just being by his side is enough. I am at peace with my fate.
  • Irene: *flirts with Sherlock*
  • Sherlock: what???
  • John: what

AFGHANISTAN. Helmand Province. May 13, 2007. Corporal Paul Morgan attached to the Grenadier Guards Regiment and Lieutenant Daniel Knowles, a British Officer of the Royal engineers Regiment, in a Taliban trench during a fighting patrol into Taliban territory outside the Delhi Patrol Base.

Photograph: Marco di Lauro/Getty Images

Warrior Wednesday: U.S. Marines 1st Lt. Patrick Ford (Right), Bravo Company platoon commander, Cpl. Kevin Midgley (Center), a machine gunner, and Cpl. David Calle, a vehicle commander, all with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 2d Marine Regiment, observe surrounding compounds during a security patrol in Nad Ali, Helmand province, Afghanistan on August 11, 2014. Patrols were conducted to disrupt enemy operations against the Bastion- Leatherneck Complex. 

(Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. John A. Martinez Jr. / Released)

Taliban signals growing strength after capture of key Afghan district

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Taliban signals growing strength after capture of key Afghan district

Taliban fighters have captured the strategic district of Sangin in the southern Afghan province of Helmand after security forces pulled out, leaving the district center to the insurgents, officials said on Thursday. The capture of the town in the opium-rich region of Helmand, where U.S. and British forces suffered heavy casualties until it was handed over to Afghan personnel, underscores the Taliban’s growing strength and the scale of the challenge facing the western-backed Afghan government and its international partners. Afghan forces have struggled to contain the spreading insurgency since international troops ended combat operations in 2014, leaving the Afghans to fight largely alone. With warmer spring weather beginning, increased fighting is expected across Afghanistan, and security officials have warned that 2017 may be even tougher than last year.

Our forces have retreated from government offices, including the police headquarters and the governor’s office in Sangin. … But we are preparing to take it back.

Omar Zwak, spokesman for the Helmand governor

Also on Thursday, the top U.S. general in Europe said that he had seen Russian influence on Afghan Taliban insurgents growing, and he raised the possibility that Moscow was helping supply the militants. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who is also NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, did not elaborate on what kinds of supplies might be headed to the Taliban or how direct Russia’s role might be. Moscow has been critical of the U.S. over its handling of the war in Afghanistan, but Russian officials have denied they provide aid to the insurgents and say their limited contacts are aimed at bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table. The top U.S. commander in the country, Gen. John Nicholson, said last month that Afghanistan was in a “stalemate” and that thousands more international troops would be needed to boost the existing NATO-led training and advisory mission. Still, President Trump is yet to announce a new Afghanistan strategy.


There are 300 beds inside Boost Hospital in Lashkar Gah, Helmand, Afghanistan. Plagued with violence and conflict during the month of August, this hospital has become the epicenter of medical care for the people in and surrounding the Helmand Province. Photojournalist Kadir van Lohuizen captures powerful photos of the patients who occupy these beds, the landscape of Afghanistan, and what we do to provide medical assistance. (Karim Van Lohuizen/Noor) http://bit.ly/2cDz5GU

AFGHANISTAN. Helmand Province. Southern Marja. September 15, 2010. United States Marine, Lance Cpl. Stephanie Robertson, 20, a member of a Female Engagement Team attached to Second Batallian, 6th Marine Regiment, watches ‘Finding Nemo’ on her laptop at a forward operating base for Fox company. Though the overall mission of the FET teams is to engage Afghan women, the female marines are increasingly exposed to small arms fire and improvised explosive attacks while on their patrols to access villages.

Photograph: Lynsey Addario for The New York Times