Last month, reports surfaced, later confirmed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has been delivering bags of cash to Karzai for a decade, in part to buy continued access and cooperation during the war. The New York Times reported that the payments had not resulted in the influence the CIA sought, and had instead fueled corruption and empowered warlords. A further report by the U.N. stated that opium cultivation across Afghanistan had increased for the third year in a row. As Western troops continue the long process of preparing for their December 2014 withdrawal, evidence of significant progress in Afghanistan remains elusive. The photos below are just a glimpse of this conflict over the past month, part of the ongoing series here on Afghanistan. An Afghan woman in a burqa walks along a road on a windy day on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, on April 16, 2013. Afghans at the Karte Sakhi cemetery on the foot of Karte Sakhi's Shrine in the foothills of TV Mountain in Kabul, on April 26, 2013. The shrine is the second most sacred place of Shia worship in Afghanistan. A U.S. Black Hawk helicopter arrives, after a NATO helicopter crashed killing two American service members in a field near Gerakhel, eastern Afghanistan, on April 9, 2013. The U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said the cause of the crash is under investigation but initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time.