Afghanistan: "Failure of Expectation" on Foreign Exchange

Spring marks the beginning of the fighting season in Afghanistan, and as Afghan and western forces prepare for the Taliban offensive, others will be preparing to battle the country's second greatest threat: poppy.

But eradicating Afghanistan's most prolific and illicit crop will be hampered by past missteps and what Afghan farmers perceive as a lack of understanding when it comes to the problems they face.

A video by Shaun McCanna and Lee Ann Nelson
Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting / Flamingo Productions

Fort Bragg soldiers make a difference in Afghanistan

Kevin Maurer, for the Pulitzer Center
Khost, Afghanistan

Lt. Col. Scottie Custer is an 82nd Airborne Division artillery officer in a place where the big guns he's trained to use are worthless.

Navy Cmdr. David Adams is a former submarine driver leading a team of Fort Bragg-trained sailors in a landlocked country.

And Arsala Jamal — a man schooled in accounting who once kept the books for the University of Nebraska's education center in Pakistan — is the appointed governor of a war-torn province in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan: Lucky Charms

Like baseball players, Maj. Michele Curtis-Jackson, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade physician's assistant, says all medics fly with luck charms... she carries seven.

1) Heart Shaped D-rings -- the rings in all colors are used to hang up IV bags and secure other things in the helicopter. Curtis-Jackson says they represent the heart of the soldier.

Afghanistan: Dustoff

Company C, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, is the only medevac company in Afghanistan. Divided into four platoons, the "All American Dustoff" company is based at forward operations bases in the eastern and southern portions of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan: Bazaar

Bazaar Noorullah makes about $2,000 a month selling antiques and Afghan crafts to soldiers at Forward Operating Base Salerno.

Afghanistan: Mosque

A splendid blue mosque sits near the 4th Brigade headquarters on Forward Operating Base Salerno.

Its light blue color is more striking because it is in a sea of beige buildings. It has smooth steps made of concrete and stone and carpets inside cover the floors.