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July 17, 2009

In Afghanistan, Part One

(Part one of two) - Today, nearly eight years after the initial invasion of Afghanistan, the country remains unstable at best, and the U.S. is now pouring thousands of new troops into the country, joining the international coalition to combat the Taliban insurgency. This year, bomb attacks on coalition troops have reached an all-time high - at least 46 American troops killed by IEDs this year, part of the larger figure of 1,249 coalition deaths to date. On June 25th, U.S. officials announced the launch of Operation Khanjar - 4,000 U.S. Marines and hundreds of NATO and Afghan forces pushing into various parts of Helmand province attempting to secure the area ahead of Afghanistan's presidential election next month. Consider this entry a double-issue - there has been so much powerful photography coming out of Afghanistan the past few months, I had a very hard time editing down to just these, recent photographs from Afghanistan. (see part 2) (32 photos total)

An afghan girl stands next to the door of her house as Canadian soldiers patrol the village of Bazaar e Panjwai in Kandahar, May 29, 2009. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)

Band-e-Amir is seen in this undated photo in Bamiyan province of Afghanistan. The cascading collection of deep-blue high-mountain lakes was dedicated as Afghanistan's first provisional national park Thursday June 18, 2009, as the violence-plagued nation took a big first step toward protecting one of its finest natural treasures. (AP Photo) #

In this photo taken Monday, June 22, 2009, U.S. Marines from the 2nd MEB, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines stand guard along a wall in the village of Khwaja Jamal near their base near Now Zad in Afghanistan's Helmand province. Three years after its residents fled, the once bustling town of Now Zad is the scene of a stalemate between U.S. Marines and Taliban insurgents. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

Taliban fighters train with their weapons in an undisclosed location in Afghanistan July 14, 2009. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

Taliban fighters ride on motorbikes in an undisclosed location in Afghanistan July 14, 2009. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

An Afghan shepherd herds his sheep down from a hill near Kelagay, 210km (130mi) north of Kabul, Afghanistan on Friday, June 3, 2003. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky) #

An Afghan boy smiles in his shop at Bazaar e Panjwai in Kandahar May 28, 2009. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva) #

Afghan National Army soldiers ride in the back of a pickup in the village of Bazaar e Panjwai, in Kandahar May 30, 2009. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva) #

A combination of 15 images of Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers posing for portraits at their compound at Panjwai district in Kandahar, June 1 2009. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva) #

U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Jarvis Norfleet from the Bronx, New York walks with his weapon on June 26, 2009 in Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #

Afghan police officers stand near blood stains following a suicide bomb attack in the city of Khost, east of Kabul, Afghanistan on Monday, June 22 2009. A suicide bomber on a motorbike killed six civilians when he drove in front of the city's electric power headquarters and set off explosives. (AP Photo/Nishanuddin Khan) #

An Afghan man who sells used vehicle parts, listens to Canadian soldiers on patrol as he is questioned in his shop at Bazaar e Panjwai in Kandahar May 28, 2009. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva) #

Afghan men strike a pose during a national bodybuilding competition at a cinema hall in Kabul June 2, 2009. Hundreds of competitors entered the annual competition, organised by Afghanistan's national Olympic organisation, to vie for the title of Mr. Afghanistan. (REUTERS/Omar Sobhani) #

A girl waves behind a U.S. soldier from 2nd Platoon of the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, during a patrol in Molahel village in the mountains of Wardak Province on July 4, 2009. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov) #

A U.S. Marine from 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, RCT 2nd Battalion 8th Marines Echo Co. wears a belt of ammunition around his neck on July 6, 2009 in Mian Poshteh, Afghanistan. The Marines are part of Operation Khanjari, which was launched to combat Taliban fighters using areas in the Southern Helmand Province as resupply routes, and to help the local Afghan population prepare for the upcoming presidential elections. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #

An Afghan boy is seen through a bulletproof window of an armored vehicle used by ISAF troops for their daily patrols near Pul-e-Khumri, Baghlan province of Afghanistan, Tuesday, July 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky) #

U.S. Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade rest inside a tent at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan's Helmand province Tuesday June 9, 2009. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

The tattoo of a U.S. Marine from the 2nd MEB, 1st Battalion 5th Marine, is seen through a hole on the back of his uniform shirt, as he stands guard at a compound in the Nawa district of Afghanistan's Helmand province, Wednesday, July 8, 2009. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

In this photo taken Tuesday, June 16, 2009, pedal boats are seen anchored at a lake in Band-e-Amir, in the central Afghanistan's province of Bamiyan. The six azure lakes in Band-e-Amir are Afghanistan's first national park. In an attempt to return one small part of the country to normalcy government officials and international donors are promoting tourism to attract visitors to the Bamiyan area. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #

Children view the body of a six-year-old Afghan boy, who was killed when a weapons cache exploded, on the outskirts of Jalalabad, the provincial capital of Nangarhar province east of Kabul, Afghanistan on Monday, June 22, 2009. The explosion killed the boy in a nearby village and wounded 20 others, police said. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #

A US Airforce C-17 plane drops food and water at Camp Dwyer in Helmand Province in Afghanistan on June 29, 2009. (MANPREET ROMANA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A U.S. marine from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade looks through his binoculars in Khan Neshin district of Helmand province July 8, 2009. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood) #

In this photo taken Thursday, June 11, 2009, Lt. Michelle Smith, of Boise, Idaho, holds hands with 8-year-old Razia at Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, Afghanistan. Razia was evacuated to the hospital in May after she was severely burned when a white phosphorus round hit her home in the Tagab Valley, killing two of her sisters during fighting between French troops and Taliban militants. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) #

A worker pressure washes parts on a U.S. CH-47 Chinook helicopter on June 25, 2009 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The helicopter is part of the 3rd Battalion of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade which is providing air support for troops fighting Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #

A wounded Afghan translator working for the U.S. military lays on a stretcher as he arrives for treatment on a U.S. military helicopter to the Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, Afghanistan on June 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) #

Sgt. Al Smoot, of Harold, California, gives CPR to an injured U.S. soldier in the emergency room of the U.S. military hospital at Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, Afghanistan on June 7,2009. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) #

A de-miner of the Halo Trust, a British charity that specialize in the removal of land mines, looks at colleagues searching for mines in Bagram, north of Kabul, Afghanistan on June 10, 2009. Officials and experts fear that increased fighting and and a drop in international funding could prevent Afghanistan from meeting the goal of clear the country of mines by 2013. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan) #

Rescuers float down a river on innertubes as they search for survivors of two sunken boats, in Lal Pur district of Nangarhar province east of Kabul, Afghanistan on Wednesday, July 1, 2009. Several Afghans were killed when two boats sank while attempting to transfer groups of people from one side of the river to the other, police officials said. Over 10 people were rescued and approximately a dozen remain missing. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #

An Afghan National army soldier keeps watch as a U.S. marine helicopter flies overhead in Khan Neshin district of Helmand province July 8, 2009. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood) #

The coffin of Rifleman Daniel Simpson is carried from an aircraft to a hearse during a repatriation ceremony at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire, southern England July 14, 2009. The bodies of eight soldiers killed during the bloodiest 24-hours for British forces since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 were flown back home on Tuesday. (REUTERS/Ministry of Defence/Crown Copyright/Adrian Harlen) #

The cortege of hearses carrying the bodies of eight British soldiers killed in a single 24-hour period in Afghanistan pass mourners lining the street on Tuesday July 14, 2009 in Wootton Bassett, England. (AP Photo/Simon Dawson) #

U.S. Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, 1st Battalion 5th Marines board helicopters at Camp Leatherneck for a night air assault in Afghanistan's Helmand province Thursday July 2, 2009. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

 
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