Spending our days on the interwebs has its advantages, one being that we come across lots of excellent pieces of journalism. Every week, we'll bring you our favorite online reads that didn't appear on our site. Disagree with the selection? Leave your suggestions in the comments or tweet #bestreads at @HuffPostWorld.
Enemy Inside The Wire: The Untold Story Of The Battle Of Bastion
GQ -- Matthieu Aikins
On Sept. 14, 2012, a small group of Taliban fighters dressed as American soldiers forged a hole in the perimeter around Camp Bastion, one of the largest international military bases in Afghanistan. They crept inside the base, killed several U.S. troops and inflicted the largest loss of American aircraft in a single combat operation since Vietnam. How were 15 militants able to cause this much havoc on an 8-square-mile base that houses 300,000 people, thousands of troops from different countries, a hospital and even a morgue? Matthieu Aikins reconstructs the events of that fateful September night.
Among Syria's Islamist Fighters
The New Yorker -- Rania Abouzeid
Syria's coastal province of Latakia is the heartland of the Assad regime, a prosperous coastal strip housing some of the president's most loyal supporters. However, a coalition of radical Islamist militants is fighting a fierce battle with the Syrian army for control of the area. Syrians fight along Tunisians and Moroccans, Chechens and Kuwaitis. They despise the Free Syrian Army (calling them "tourists") and chastise the Muslim Brotherhood (dubbed "Whatever The Audience Wants"). "There’s no wariness or hesitation here," Rania Abouzeid writes. Syrian Islamist fighters in Latakia need all the help they can get, and for now, the "emigrants" make a strong ally.
Cooking In Karachi
Foreign Policy -- Taimur Khan
In November of last year, when Karachi's police superintendent, Zameer Abbasi, was notified of an explosion in an apartment in the coastal Pakistani city, he feared another suicide attack. It was the holy month of Muharram, a period notorious for sectarian violence. Instead of finding the remains of another terrorist, however, Abbasi made the first meth-lab bust in the country. Karachi, a city that grew by more than 80 percent between 2000 and 2010, is one of the most violent in the world and a hotbed for criminal groups, Islamist militants and political gangs. While the country had previously been a central player in the heroin trade, police have recently seen spectacular growth in the trade and production of methamphetamine. "Crystaal" is everywhere.
U.S. Documents Detail Al-Qaeda’s Efforts To Fight Back Against Drones
The Washington Post -- Craig Whitlock and Barton Gellman
A new Washington Post report based on documents released by Edward Snowden reveals that al-Qaeda engineers have made intense efforts to study U.S. drone technology. The documents indicate that the research is mainly aimed at reducing the massive losses drones currently inflict on militant groups from Pakistan to Yemen. For example, al-Qaeda's leadership put out a strategy guide for its followers on how to target and avoid drones, and al-Qaeda engineers were looking into building jammers to disrupt the devices. The documents also highlight how the proliferation of drone technology may one day turn the killing machines against its developers.
Dead Dog In Reservoir Helps Drive Venezuelans To Bottled Water
Bloomberg -- Anatoly Kurmanaev
10 years ago, Lake Mariposa in Caracas was a sunny tourist destination for many residents of Venezuela's capital city. Today, it is the home to followers of the cult of Santeria, a syncretic religion that combines Christian and West African beliefs, and conducts frequent animal sacrifices. While the lake supplies water to 750,000 people, the carcasses of the dead animals have contaminated the water to such an extent that the lake's decades-old treatment plant can't make the water safe for drinking. At a time when Hidrocapital, the country's nationalized water company, stopped publishing the results of sanitary tests, water in Caracas has become twice as expensive as gasoline. "Even people in the slums are investing in in-house filters to be on the safe side," one resident tells Bloomberg.