The U.S. has spent nearly 0 billion on reconstruction projects in Afghanistan, the most spent on any country in history. But John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, has found that much of that money has been wasted and misused, and has even fallen into the hands of the Taliban. Shane Smith heads to Afghanistan for a tour of American taxpayer dollars gone down the drain.
In the throes of a crippling, unhappy insurgency, Dagestan is Russia's hotbed for Muslim extremism. Its jihadists have been behind many high-profile terrorist plots around the world, including alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who spent six months there the year before that deadly attack. To understand why so much terrorist activity originates in the region, and to see firsthand what Tsarnaev learned during his stay, Shane Smith heads to Dagestan to follow in terrorists' footsteps.
Greenland recorded its highest temperatures ever in 2013. Though some say that's not cause for concern, the equivalent of three Chesapeake Bays'-worth of water melts off the island every year, affecting sea levels around the world. Shane Smith embarks on an expedition to Greenland with climate scientist Jason Box to discover the reasons for the melting, and how the resulting sea level rise will mean devastation sooner than expected.
The ongoing civil war in Syria has been covered extensively in the media, with the Free Syrian Army, Bashar al-Assad's forces and the myriad of jihadi groups dominating the headlines. Meanwhile, one ethnic group, the Kurds, goes largely unmentioned as it tries to carve out its own state in the four countries where its people live: Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. While they've had some success gaining autonomy in Iraq, Kurds in the Western-most tip of Syria are using the chaos of the civil war to gain their own little statelet. Thomas Morton goes to the frontline of the battle for a Kurdish state to follow the story of this forgotten group.
Tracing the origin of terrorist plots to Dagestan; Evangelical Christians support Israel.
Rocky Mountain High: Impact of legalized marijuana in Colorado; North Korean Defectors: The struggles of North Korean defectors relocating to South Korea.
"The Pink Gang Rebellion" - The brutal details of a 2012 gang rape on a Delhi bus focused international attention on India's rampant rape issue. Inept law enforcement, the social stigma associated with rape, and a patriarchal social structure have allowed sexual assaults to plague Indian women. Delhi's police department has vowed to hire more female officers and set up a help desk, but these measures are hardly a solution. Rapes in Delhi doubled in 2013, and as bad as it is in Delhi, the Indian countryside is even worse. Instead of investigating rape cases, rural police officers often ignore victims and their families. But one woman, Sampat Pal, has galvanized a group of rural women into the Gulabi Gang, or Pink Gang, to combat the injustice of sexual assault. Gelareh Kiazand heads to rural Indian to investigate the issue and embed with this revolutionary gang. "Genetic Passport" - From 1949 to 1989, the Soviet Union, determined to prepare for nuclear warfare, detonated more than 450 nuclear bombs in an area of Kazakhstan known as the Semipalatinsk Test Site. For hundreds of thousands of Kazakhs, radiation not only surrounded them, but became part of their DNA. In an effort to curtail the birth of a new generation of deformed children, a Kazakh doctor recently tried to implement a mandatory "genetic passport" allowing people to know if their genes were damaged by radiation. Thomas Morton goes to Kazakhstan to learn more about this controversial initiative.
As humanity's appetite for energy grows exponentially, the extraction industry scrambles to the most remote regions on Earth to satisfy demand. In the undeveloped Melanesian country of Papua New Guinea, America's Exxon Mobil has staked its claim to a billion dollar liquid natural-gas project expected to start production in late 2014. Vikram Gandhi heads to Papua New Guinea to investigate. Over in Texas, Thomas Morton investigates the climate catastrophe, and discovers firsthand the local responses, which often involve reaching out for divine intervention.
Shane Smith heads to Louisiana to report on the lasting effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Then, Ben Anderson goes deep into Houthi-controlled territory to learn about the group that's fighting, and beating, Al Qaeda in the east, Saudi Arabia in the north, and Yemen's central government in the south.
Investigating the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan; veterans struggling with mental illness and addiction.
"Heroin Warfare" (correspondent: Suroosh Alvi) - Since the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, heroin production in the region has skyrocketed, making the country the number-one producer by a large margin. Though Iran, Afghanistan's neighbor, is an ultraconservative country, Afghan heroin flowing across the border has actually caused Iran to have the worst heroin use problem in the world. Suroosh Alvi gets a rare look inside Iran to meet the suffering heroin addicts, and see how the country is coping with the illegal drug trade. "The Coldest War" (correspondent: David Choe) - With the polar ice caps shrinking due to global warming, new trade routes are being exposed, along with billions of dollars' worth of natural-resource reserves. This is prime real estate and the five nations bordering the Arctic are readying themselves to fight for it. David Choe heads north to witness NATO forces participating in the largest polar military exercise in history. The problem is that there's one non-NATO country that already considers itself rightful owner of the region: Russia. With Vladimir Putin's recent military annexation of Crimea, there's a definite possibility its aggressions will boil over, returning the international community to precarious Cold War footing.
"Surveillance City" (correspondent: Vikram Gandhi) - Camden, New Jersey is one of the poorest and drug-ridden cities in the country, and its hugging rate is 12 times the national average. In 2011, the city cut its police force almost in half, with nearly 80,000 residents regularly being policed by 12 cops at a time. The state stepped in to overhaul the department, introducing an experimental "Metro" security apparatus equipped with futuristic technologies like gunshot detecting, triangulation microphones, and automatic license-plate readers. As similar surveillance systems are implemented across the country, Vikram Gandhi goes to Camden to see how these tactics are working, how residents feel about their loss of privacy, and what the future of policing might be. "The Forgotten War" (correspondent: Ben Anderson) - A decade ago, the crisis in Darfur was a cause celebre. American politicians, activists, and celebrities took to the media to condemn Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for his brutal genocide, and to send out a call for justice and aid his victims. Yet today, world attention has waned, despite the fact that President Bashir remains in power. People continue to die, and millions of refugees remain in overburdened camps filled with malnourished children. Without sufficient aid from the international community, Sudanese rebel groups are stepping in to fight for justice on their own terms. Ben Anderson goes to the refugee camps in Chad and Sudan to meet the victims the world has forgotten, and the rebels poised for civil war.