The start of the Afghan Taliban's annual offensive on Friday is expected to precede the bloodiest fighting season in a decade as Nato forces pull out.
Taliban threats and conservative beliefs are preventing women's cricket in Afghanistan, where it is believed that women should not compete in public.
The Taliban is under pressure to prove itself as groups splinter off and the army moves in.
M&G's photo editor Paul Botes brings you a selection of captivating photos from around the world, including some of the events that made headlines this year.
The burial of those killed in a Taliban attack is under way and a former ambassador to the US says Pakistan has been too apologetic about the Taliban.
At least 126 people, most of them children, have been killed after Taliban gunmen stormed a school in Pakistani, taking hundreds of students hostage.
In an open letter to world leaders ahead of receiving her Nobel Peace Prize, activist Malala Yousafzai asks world leaders to raise their ambition.
A South African pastor and his two teenage children are the latest casualties of a spate of attacks by the Taliban across Afghanistan.
The South African head of an organisation, his son and daughter, and one Afghan were killed in a Taliban attack on a compound for foreigners in Kabul.
Indian national Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai have won the 2014 Nobel Peace prize for advocating children's rights.
A Taliban attack has killed 18 people and wounded around 150 in Afghanistan, while Nato has warned that accords over Afghan troops have to be signed.
About 60% of Aghanistan's eligible voters turned out for the second round of presidential voting despite rocket barrages and other attacks.
At least 27 people have been killed in an assault by Taliban militants on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.
Voting has begun in Afghanistan's presidential election, marking the first democratic transfer of power since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.
On Saturday Afghanistan votes for a new president. The M&G spoke to the UN's special representative for Afghanistan ahead of the country's elections.
Four gunmen opened fire on guests in a luxury Kabul hotel restaurant in the latest violent attack in Afghanistan's capital city.
A Taliban suicide bomber has detonated an explosives-packed vehicle next to a Nato military convoy in Kabul, say officials.
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, has been honoured by Harvard University.
Maulana Sami ul-Haq told an interviewer this week that peace would not be possible as long as foreign troops were in Afghanistan.