Diaa Hadid

In the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains, on the bank of the river that courses through the Swat Valley, boys play soccer in a dusty field. When the Pakistani Taliban occupied this valley a decade ago, loyalists trudged to the same riverbank with their own television sets, setting them ablaze in a fiery rejection of Western culture.

Why It's So Hard To Wipe Out Polio In Pakistan

May 26, 2018

Two young women burst through the door of a health center in a Pakistani slum. One woman sobs. The other tries to explain what just happened.

Nida, 21, and Sahar, 19, are front-line vaccinators — a small but essential role in Pakistan's enormous effort to eradicate the virus. They were going down alleys knocking door-to-door, administering polio vaccine drops to children, when a man pulled out a gun, slammed Nida over the head, snatched her bag and ran away. (Nida and Sahar asked that their last names not be used to protect their safety.)

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A Pakistani exchange student was one of the 10 people shot dead in the Santa Fe High School shooting on Friday. She came from a country where militants have attacked schools and killed students, so her death — in a country that once seemed so much safer than Pakistan — shocked many in her home country.

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Updated at 10 a.m. ET

Multiple bomb blasts, including two apparent suicide attacks on police stations, and earthquake tremors rocked Afghanistan's capital city, Kabul, on Wednesday.

Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for at least one of the bombings. The blasts underscore how the government and its Western backers are struggling to secure the capital against militants who see the city and its residents as their chief targets.

The woman in the brown burqa stood at the gate of court complex as men in suits shouldered past. With one hand, she clutched her son, and in the other, a piece of paper scrawled with a name.

The district police officer gave it to her when she complained about her husband's abuse. He told her to present it at the entrance of the sprawling court administration that serves the Swat Valley. Noorshad Begum couldn't read it, being illiterate.

She handed it to a court guard.

Updated at 4:40 a.m. ET

Pakistan's Interior Minister Ashan Iqbal was shot and wounded on Sunday by a gunman reportedly linked to a hard-line Muslim group. It was the most serious act of violence since campaigning began for upcoming elections, expected this summer.

Updated at 7:50 a.m. ET

Coordinated suicide bomb attacks near the Afghan intelligence agency building in Kabul have killed at least 25 people and wounded dozens more, including several journalists.

In a separate attack in the southern city of Kandahar, 11 schoolchildren were killed and 16 hurt when a suicide bomber in a truck targeted NATO-led forces.

Pakistan's Supreme Court effectively ended the political career of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday, voting unanimously to ban him for life from holding any public office. The verdict plunges Pakistan into more political instability in the lead up to elections, expected this summer.

The ruling by the five-judge panel cited an article in Pakistan's constitution that requires members of parliament to be "honest and righteous."

Opponents of the verdict said it was a dangerous overstep by the Supreme Court to ban Sharif for life.

When he visits rural villages, fans shower him with rose petals. A YouTube user calls him a "rock star activist." It's an unlikely epithet for a 26-year-old from a remote, conservative Pakistani village who sometimes wears a traditional turban.

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The Nobel Peace Laureate Malala Yousafzai returned to her homeland Pakistan today. This is her first visit since a Taliban gunman boarded her school bus and shot her. NPR's Diaa Hadid reports from Islamabad.

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