A Taliban militant (at right with an AK-47 rifle) observes farmers as they collect resin from poppies in an opium poppy field in Afghanistan's Helmand province in 2008. The Taliban not only take a cut from poppy farmers, they are becoming bigger players in running drug labs and smuggling. Poppies are used to make opium, the raw ingredient for heroin, considered to be a major funding source for the Taliban. AP hide caption

itoggle caption AP

An Egyptian man casts his vote Sunday in parliamentary elections at a polling station in Cairo. Allegations of widespread fraud and voter intimidation have marred the polls. Ben Curtis/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Ben Curtis/AP

Volunteers packed into a room during a petition-drive training session in Cairo. Mohamed ElBaradei's National Association for Change movement has gathered 900,000 signatures on a petition to amend the constitution and end the stranglehold President Hosni Mubarak's ruling party has over elections. Holly Pickett for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Holly Pickett for NPR

Aida Abdel-Fattah stands in front of her home in the Duweika area of Cairo. Abdel-Fattah's home was damaged two years ago in a landslide that killed scores of her neighbors. She and others are still waiting to be resettled by the government, as their homes crumble around them. Holly Pickett for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Holly Pickett for NPR

Lebanese wave their national flag as they attend a rally marking the fifth anniversary of the assassination of Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri in downtown Beirut on February 14, 2010. Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad waves to the crowds from the sunroof of his SUV upon his arrival in Beirut on Wednesday. Thousands of cheering Lebanese welcomed Ahmadinejad to Lebanon, throwing rose petals and sweets at his motorcade at the start of a visit that underscores a growing recognition of Iran as a power broker in the region. Mahmoud Tawil/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Mahmoud Tawil/AP

In Jalalabad, women walk past posters of candidates running in Saturday's parliamentary elections. Officials are seeking to reassure wary Afghans that it will be safe to vote, despite threats from the Taliban warning people not to leave their homes. Rahmat Gul/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Rahmat Gul/AP

Afghans walk past a branch of Kabul Bank in the capital on Wednesday. Shareholders met this week to decide the fate of the bank after suspected irregularities raised concerns over the country's biggest private financial institution. Ahmad Massoud/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Ahmad Massoud/AP

Afghanistan’s Ring Road, the main highway connecting this war-ravaged country, is littered with burned out vehicles like this bus. They were destroyed by roadside bombs or rocket propelled grenades fired by insurgents. Soraya Nelson/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Soraya Nelson/NPR

Afghan metal workers put together billboards for Ghazni candidate Daoud Sultanzoi. The incumbent is seeking re-election to his seat in parliament. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson/NPR

Muslim Egyptian men pray during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan at Cairo's historic Al-Azhar mosque in September 2009. Some experts say many Egyptians have lost the meaning of the holy month, spending too much time after hours partying, eating and watching TV. Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images) hide caption

itoggle caption Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images)

Ahmed Abdel Aziz sings the call to prayer, or the azan, at Al- Maghfara Mosque in a suburb of Cairo last month. Holly Pickett for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Holly Pickett for NPR