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October 8, 2008

In Afghanistan with the ISAF

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is the mission established by the UN Security Council in 2001 to secure parts of Afghanistan to allow the establishment of Hamid Karzai's new administration. The ISAF operates separately, but cooperatively, with the U.S. coalition operation in Afghanistan called "Operation Enduring Freedom". The mission of the ISAF has expanded to provide security for all of Afghanistan, and is presently made up of over 53,000 troops from 43 different nations. The recent push into Taliban strongholds has led to more frequent conflicts, and increased attacks against ISAF convoys and soldiers. Pictured here are ISAF soldiers throughout Afghanistan, many of them from Germany, courtesy of Reuters' embedded photographer Fabrizio Bensch - again it's impossible to portray every member nation in just a handful of photos, just see these as representative of soldiers from 43 countries, all undertaking the same tasks. (30 photos total)

A German Bundeswehr army CH-53 helicopter of the ISAF lands on a helipad near a camp in Fayzabad, north of Kabul, September 19, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch)

A pair of ISAF soldiers stand on a hillside overlooking Kabul, Afghanistan on the night of January 11, 2008 (ISAF Photos) #

German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the 263rd paratroopers unit of the ISAF walk through the camp before leaving for a night mission in Kunduz, Afghanistan on October 2, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

A soldier from the German Bundeswehr army, 263rd paratroopers unit of the ISAF, adjusts his night vision goggles in the camp before leaving for a night mission in Kunduz, October 2, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

An ISAF Patria XA-188 GVV armored personnel carrier passes local Afghans while patrol mission around Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan on June 9, 2008. (Richard Frigge/SHAPE photos) #

An observer aboard a German Bundeswehr army CH-53 helicopter with the ISAF sits on the back door during a flight from Fayzabad to Kunduz, north of Kabul, Afghanistan on September 24, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

An Afghan boy holds his toy weapon as Belgian army soldiers of the ISAF patrol during a joint mission with German Bundeswehr army soldiers in Taloqan, west of Kunduz, Afghanistan on September 30, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the ISAF gather inside a shelter during a rocket attack against their base in Kunduz, Afghanistan on October 3, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

A cat named "Ebola" stretches among the German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the ISAF in Toloqan, west of Kunduz, Afghanistan on September 25, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

A German Bundeswehr soldier with the ISAF sleeps inside a "Fuchs" armoured personnel carrier during a night mission in Kunduz, Afghanistan on October 4, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

An ISAF soldier with the German Bundeswehr observes the situation from the back door during a flight on a German Bundeswehr army CH-53 helicopter from Kunduz to the German base in Fayzabad, northern Afghanistan, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #

A German Bundeswehr soldier with the ISAF monitors the area on a mountain during a sweep mission with an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team on the outskirts of Fayzabad, north of Kabul, Afghanistan on September 20, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

An Afghan boy on a donkey with a water bucket on his shoulders passes by ISAF soldiers with the German Bundeswehr patrolling the mountain villages on the outskirts of Fayzabad, northern Afghanistan, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #

An ISAF soldier with the German Bundeswehr uses a picture of his family as a bookmark while he reads during a flight on a Bundeswehr army CH-53 helicopter from Kunduz to the German base in Fayzabad, northern Afghanistan, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #

British paratroopers Private Danny Berk, right, and Corporal Scott Evens move through a hole blown in a compound wall by a grenade, Saturday Aug. 31, 2008, while protecting a convoy. The convoy consisted of over 100 vehicles in total, some carrying equipment and a new turbine for the power station at the Kajaki Dam. It passed through Taliban positions which were hit with artillery, mortars, Apache Attack helicopters firing rockets and Hellfire missiles, and fast jets dropping precision guided bombs, which resulted in an estimated 250 Taliban casualties. (AP Photo/Sgt. Anthony Boocock, MOD ho) #

A German soldier of the ISAF monitors the area during a tour for members of the German lower house of parliament Bundestag near Kunduz October 1, 2008. Chancellor Angela Merkel's government hopes to win a parliamentary mandate this month to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan by 1,000 soldiers. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

German Bundeswehr army doctors with the ISAF give medical treatment to an Afghan man with a bullet wound to his leg in the clinic of their army camp in Fayzabad, north of Kabul, Afghanistan on September 21, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

A German Bundeswehr soldier loads his magazines before going on night patrol near Kunduz in northern Afghanistan September 11, 2008. (Michael Kappeler/AFP/Getty Images) #

A German soldier of the 263rd paratroopers unit of the ISAF mans his weapon atop a Fuchs armoured personnel carrier in the camp before leaving for a night mission in Kunduz, Afghanistan on October 2, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

Afghan National Police officers, seen training with mock guns during a session with ISAF soldiers from the German Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) at the German army camp in Fayzabad, northern Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 29, 2008. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #

German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the ISAF Quick Reaction Force (QRF) run during a night drill in the Marmal mountains near Masar-i-Sharif, north of Kabul, September 16, 2008. Picture is taken through a night vision device. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

A German soldier of the 4/452 military police battalion of the ISAF monitors the area at a road block during a mine sweeping mission in Kunduz, Afghanistan on October 6, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

German Bundeswehr soldiers of the ISAF Quick Reaction Force (QRF) open fire during a night drill in the Marmal mountains near Masar-i-Sharif, north of Kabul, September 16, 2008. Picture is taken through a night vision device. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

A German soldier with the ISAF rests during a joint patrol with Afghan National Army soldiers in the mountains near Feyzabad, north of Kabul, Afghanistan on September 21, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

A German Bundeswehr soldier with the ISAF speaks into his radio as he stands next to a former Soviet army tank on a mountain during a sweep mission with an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team on the outskirts of Fayzabad, north of Kabul, Afghanistan on September 20, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 Armoured Howitzer of the 14th company field artillery (B-battery C-platoon) of the Royal Netherlands Army fires its 155mm canon from Camp Holland in Uruzgan at enemy positions in Chora, Afghanistan on February 18, 2008 (Gerben van Es/SHAPE photos) #

ISAF soldiers of the German Federal Armed Forces pilot an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), called Luna X from a container at their base outside Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 22, 2008. The remotely piloted Luna X is equipped with video, camera and an infrared sensor. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #

A German Bundeswehr armoured personnel carrier of the 263rd paratroopers unit of the ISAF passes in front of a well-guarded building where a reception commemorating the 18th anniversary of the reunification of Germany took place in Kunduz, Afghanistan on October 3, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

Honor guard carry the casket of Sergeant Prescott Shipway to a hearse past his daughter Rowan Shipway, 4, and his wife Diana Dawn Kaczmar (and his son Hayden, 6 holding a rose at far right) , at Canadian Forces Base Trenton September 10, 2008. Shipway, an infantryman with the Second Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, was killed on September 7 when his armoured vehicle struck a roadside bomb in the Panjwayi District of Afghanistan. (REUTERS/Fred Thornhill) #

German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the ISAF monitor a valley during a mission near Kunduz, Afghanistan on September 26, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

 
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