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A blog devoted to on-the-ground reporting around the world.

Closing time at Afghanistan's Kandahar Airfield

As American troops come home, Western fast food shops and local businesses are leaving too.

Sajad Ahmad, proprietor of the House of Knowledge, has marked down all his wares as he prepares to close his shop. (Ben Brody/GlobalPost)

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – As the US troop presence dwindles here, The House of Knowledge is closing.

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Islamic State continues onslaught as US mulls military intervention

Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims remain under threat as IS thrives.
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Fauzi Ali and her 2-day-old baby fled the ISIS attack last week and arrived in the Kurdish region of Iraq. (Reese Erlich/GlobalPost)

FISH KHABUR, Kurdistan Region, Iraq — In the wake of the brutal murder of American journalist James Foley, hawks in Washington have increased calls for US military intervention in the region as the perpetrators tightened hold of territory in Iraq and Syria.

The Islamic State extremist militant group, which distributed a digital video recording of Foley's beheading to global astonishment last week, seized a stretch of the Sunni areas of northern Iraq in June and consolidated its control of Syria's Raqqa province on Tuesday.

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War reporting in the time of the Islamic State

Correspondent James Foley's execution by the Islamic State forces sober reflection on the perils of front-line coverage.
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James Foley reporting in Tripoli, Libya in August 2011. (Jonathan Pedneault/Courtesy)
Correspondent James Foley's execution by the Islamic State forces sober reflection on the perils of front-line coverage.
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Pope Francis calls the Foley family, whose faith breaks through ISIS-inflicted horror

Journalist James Foley's execution stunned the world, but his family continues to find strength in their Roman Catholic devotion.
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John and Diane Foley, parents of James Foley, listen to a panel discussion about the importance and dangers of reporting on world conflicts at a Free James Foley event on May 3, 2013 in Boston. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)
Journalist James Foley's execution stunned the world, but his family continues to find strength in their Roman Catholic devotion.
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Here are the signs that America's longest war is finally ending

Kandahar Airfield is unusually quiet and military contractors are looking for their next gigs. As Iraq falls apart, what will Afghanistan look like in a few years?
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Stenciled on a blast wall at Kandahar Airfield, a soldier's gallows humor echoes the uncertainty of Afghanistan's future. (Ben Brody/GlobalPost)

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Arriving here for the sixth time since 2010, I’ve never seen Kandahar Airfield as quiet as it is now. Most of the roaring diesel generators are gone, and the buildings they once powered are either abandoned or demolished. What was once a flood of traffic with huge armored convoys jockeying against trash trucks and fuel tankers on the airfield’s narrow streets has slowed to a trickle.

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How the US pulled off its humanitarian aid missions to the Yazidis

Everything you could want to know about the technology that made the aid airdrops in Iraq possible.
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A young displaced Iraqi Yazidi, who fled a jihadist onslaught on Sinjar, stands inside a tent after he took refuge at the Bajid Kandala camp in Kurdistan's western Dohuk province, on August 13, 2014. Time is running out for starving Yazidis trapped on an Iraqi mountain as the West ramp up efforts to assist survivors and arm Kurdish forces battling jihadists. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)

US Air Force cargo planes have flown seven missions over northern Iraq this week to drop humanitarian aid to Yazidis trapped by the Islamic State on Mount Sinjar in Nineva Province. While the US Central Command won’t specify where these flights are coming from, a little research can uncover more information than the government is willing to share.

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USAID’s $500 million dam project circling the drain in Afghanistan

The strategically critical city of Kandahar will soon be without electricity after USAID's epic failure to finish a dam that has already cost half a billion dollars.
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Engineers work in the control room at the Kajaki Hydroelectric Power Plant in Helmand Province. (Ben Brody/GlobalPost)

A linchpin of the American counterinsurgency strategy in southern Afghanistan is maintaining electrical service in Kandahar City, and even that modest goal appears to be slipping away with the ongoing troop withdrawal. That is because the long-overdue upgrade of Kajaki Dam, slated to provide power to Kandahar, now appears unlikely to ever be finished.

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Duplicity’s Child: How British promises sowed the seeds of today’s Israel-Palestine bloodshed

Gaza and Jerusalem were promised to both the Arabs and the Jews. They're still fighting nearly a century later.
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Israeli soldiers stand in front of a banner with a copy of a letter from the British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild (a leader of the British Jewish community) known as the Balfour Declaration of 1917, as Palestinians, Israeli and foreign protesters demonstrate near the Karmi Tsor Jewish settlement not far from the Palestinian village of Beit Omar in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on November 6, 2010. (Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty Images)

In October 1917, British forces finally drove the Ottoman army from Gaza, in recent weeks the site of Israeli-Palestinian fighting but then a dusty garrison town that had stubbornly held out against British attacks.

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Sending ammunition to Israeli military, US shows a legal loophole

Despite war crimes accusations against Israel for killing more than 900 civilians in Gaza, the US has transferred tank ammunition and grenades to its military.
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An Israeli soldier arrives at an army deployment area, on the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip, on August 1, 2014. A three-day humanitarian truce in Gaza collapsed only hours after it began amid a deadly new wave of violence and the apparent capture by Hamas of an Israeli soldier. (JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

The United States has transferred tank ammunition and grenades to the Israeli military in order to refill stocks being depleted in Operation Protective Edge, according to recent reports.

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Looking at Argentina's Catholic women of worship

In Pope Francis' former spiritual home, women hold a paradoxical role.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Sitting in the first pew before the altar at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires — the former church of Pope Francis, then-Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio — I waited for noon Mass to begin.

The Catholic Church had been at the center of many of our interviews and exchanges over coffee, and it seemed like we’d spent most of our time in this cathedral. But this was the first time on the trip — for me, the first time in maybe 20 years — that we’d sat for Mass. Our first interview had confirmed that, in Argentina, you could not look at the issue of abortion without also looking at the church, and the paradoxical relationship women have within it.

“The Catholic Church is a very patriarchal institution that, historically, has been opposed to women’s rights,” Victoria Tesoriero, a member of Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir, or Catholics for the Right to Decide, had said in that first interview. “It has bound women to subaltern or domestic roles that are lower in rank — in the hierarchy. This is a place of inequality.”

And yet the Virgin Mary holds great power in the Latin American church.

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