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.
Given the ongoing developments in Kabul, we are also including content here from Gandhara, an RFE/RL website focusing on Afghanistan and Pakistan that is the go-to source for English-language reporting by our network of local journalists across the two countries.
Tehran recently surprised Baku by announcing military drills -- beginning on October 1 -- that put more troops and weapons near Iran's already tense border with Azerbaijan. By Golnaz Esfandiari
It's been 15 years since the assassination of prominent Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya -- a tenacious investigative reporter who exposed the brutality of Russia's war in Chechnya, and documented how President Vladimir Putin was curtailing democracy in Russia. One of the subjects of her reporting on human rights abuses, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, is still in power and allegations of his involvement in murder and torture have continued. By Ray Furlong
Communities on the Hour al-Azim marshes in Iran's Khuzestan Province say they're facing catastrophe. Marshes are drying up and piped-in drinking water is severely rationed by the authorities. Local residents say livestock are dying and farms are being abandoned. The water crisis promoted protests in the province in July 2020, which triggered demonstrations against the government nationwide. By RFE/RL's Radio Farda and Neil Bowdler
Afghan men are transitioning to a new era of Taliban rule in which facial hair is back in fashion -- or else. After the Taliban issued an order barring the shaving of beards, barbers are facing financial ruin and young men who get their hair cut risk beatings and detentions. By RFE/RL's Radio Azadi
RFE/RL has gained exclusive access to a facility in Tajikistan where dozens of U.S.-trained Afghan pilots are being secretly held. The pilots, interviewed by RFE/RL, escaped to Tajikistan on board Afghan Air Force aircraft on August 15, when the Western-backed Afghan government collapsed, and the Taliban seized control of Kabul. Since arriving in Tajikistan, the pilots have had little contact with the outside world. By RFE/RL
Musician David Geodakian was born in Yerevan 30 years ago, months after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He was too young to remember the momentous events that followed, but his father, Konstantin, was a witness to the changes that set Armenia on its path to independence. Three decades later, both men share their reflections on the differences between their generations and how their historic eras have helped shape their lives. By Harutyun Mansuryan
On December 25, 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist as a sovereign state. Its collapse was gradual and, some would say, even inevitable. Here are some major milestones in the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., which put 15 new countries on the map. By Kristyna Foltynova
The head of the State Export-Import Bank of Ukraine, Yevhen Metsher, announced he was stepping down pending an investigation of an assault on RFE/RL journalists during an interview with him in Kyiv. Angered by the reporter's questions, Metsher instructed security guards to take their cameras and video cards. The guards thought they had deleted the content, but the video was later recovered and published. It has sparked a police investigation and outrage in the country, including from President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's office. By Kyrylo Ovsyaniy, Oleksandr Mazur, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, and Ray Furlong
The name of one prominent Russian seems to crop up in many of the financial corruption scandals that have appeared in recent years -- and the new Pandora leak is no exception. Sergei Chemezov, a former KGB agent who was close to Vladimir Putin back in Dresden and St. Petersburg, has once again been linked to dubious wealth. By Robert Coalson
An ancient skeleton excavated at a site near Tbilisi has been kept at Georgia's National Museum for nearly a century -- but archaeologists are now giving it a closer look. They say the woman who was buried with jewelry and a sword is the oldest female warrior ever identified, and that the artifacts provide valuable information about the culture and society of the late Bronze Age. By RFE/RL's Georgian Service, Tamuna Chkareuli, and Margot Buff