Hey, you're busy! We know rferl.org isn't the only website you read. And that it's just possible you may have missed some of our most compelling journalism this week. To make sure you're up-to-date, here are some of the highlights produced by RFE/RL's team of correspondents, multimedia editors, and visual journalists over the past seven days.
We are also including content here from Gandhara, an RFE/RL website focusing on developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
'Burned With An Iron': Relatives Say Detainees Tortured After Massive Kazakh Protests
Relatives of people detained following nationwide anti-government protests in Kazakhstan in January have accused the authorities of torture. RFE/RL spoke with family members of detainees being held in the city of Taldyqorghan in the southeastern Almaty region. They said their loved ones had been severely beaten and that security forces had burned them with hot irons, put needles under their fingernails, and threatened them with guns. By RFE/RL's Kazakh Service
While Russia's months-long military buildup along Ukraine's borders and in occupied Crimea continues, Moscow insists that nothing extraordinary is going on and accuses the West of fearmongering. But analysts with the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) who are monitoring Russia's troop movements disagree, saying the current buildup is of an "unprecedented scope" that "has not been seen before." By Sania Yusupova and Robert Coalson
One of the world’s largest and most remote collections of petroglyphs will soon be made easily accessible due to a massive highway project cutting through central Kyrgyzstan. By Amos Chapple
Russian Naval Drills Fuel Fears Ukraine Could Be 'Suffocated From The Sea'
Russia is holding "unprecedented" naval exercises on the Black Sea, increasing fears that a maritime assault could be part of a possible invasion of Ukraine. The drills that are scheduled to run until February 19 have disrupted vital shipping lanes crucial to Ukraine's exports like grain and steel. But even without an invasion, a blockade of Ukraine's maritime routes could suffocate the country economically from the sea. By RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service and Stuart Greer
Before Ukraine’s government was struggling with a major new threat from Russia, it was struggling with its efforts to uproot corruption and check the powerful influence of the country’s oligarchs. By Mike Eckel
Mehrshad Soheili, a 17-year-old Iranian man praised in hard-line media as the country's "Youngest Commander," has been arrested on accusations of fraud. Soheili, who crafted an image of being close to influential clerics, allegedly cashed in by collecting donations he duped people into thinking were for the poor. By Mohammad Zarghami and Golnaz Esfandiari
Six months after the Taliban seized power, many Afghans are losing hope of a turn for the better. Already burdened by an economic and humanitarian crisis compounded by drought and a chaotic transition of power, Afghans are still waiting for the Taliban to deliver on promises. By RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan and Abubakar Siddique
Village Swap: How Armenians and Azeris Switched Homes Amid 1980s Ethnic Tension
Amid ethnic tension during the late 1980s, Armenians and Azeris swapped villages near the border of what were then two Soviet republics. Before the fall of the U.S.S.R., ethnic Armenians from a village in Azerbaijan exchanged their homes with people from an Azeri-populated village in Armenia. Both sides promised to protect each other's graveyards and allow villagers from each side to visit their dead. By Ray Furlong, RFE/RL's Armenian Service, and RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service
Since Russia seized Crimea in 2014, NATO has substantially reinforced its eastern flank. Ukraine is not a NATO member, but it has been a "partner country" since 2008. Russia wants assurances that it will never become a member and has massed troops on its western neighbor’s borders. What have NATO members done to support Ukraine and how much public support do they have at home? By Giovana Faria and Carlos Coelho
A 33-year-old interpreter who worked for NATO forces in Afghanistan managed to get to Ukraine with his large family after the Taliban takeover last summer. But delays in his Canadian visa application has him worried they'll all be trapped in Ukraine if Russian forces invade. By Mansur Mirovalev