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July 17, 2009

In Afghanistan, Part Two

(Part two 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 1) (32 photos total)

Members of the security detail for Karl Eikenberry, US Ambassador to Afghanistan, stand in front of a U.S. army Chinook helicopter as it lands near a newly constructed bridge south of Tarin Kot, in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan July 9, 2009. (REUTERS/Tim Wimborne)

An aerial view shows a neighborhood on the outskirts of Kandahar city June 4, 2009. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva) #

Afghan women visit a cemetery in Kabul June 11, 2009. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood) #

British army Corporal Sandra Jordan, exercises at Camp Bastion, Britain's largest base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, at sundown, Wednesday June 3, 2009. Jordan is a ward nurse at the camp hospital, where British and coalition force troops, Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police, as well as civilians and enemy casualties are treated. (AP Photo/Jon Bevan, Ministry of Defence) #

An Afghan woman works on a form of embroidery called Khamak at Kandahar Treasure facilities in Kandahar city, June 14, 2009. Kandahar Treasure, a non-profit project of the Afghans for Civil Society which started out in 2003, employs women artisans from the Kandahar area in order to develop more economic opportunities. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva) #

Romanian and U.S. military personnel, bottom right, share a table and check their email as they relax in a recreational and retail area called The Boardwalk Monday, June 29, 2009, at Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) #

Afghans stand around the crater caused by a bomb blast in Mohammad Agha district on the main road from Kabul to Logar province, Afghanistan, Thursday, July 9, 2009. The blast killed 25 people including 13 primary school students, destroying shops and scattering pieces of the vehicle that carried the explosives over a huge area, police said. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq) #

An iPod music player is attached to the tactical vest of a U.S. soldier of 3rd Platoon from the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division as he drives to the site of a roadside bomb explosion in the mountains of Wardak Province in Afghanistan July 11, 2009. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov) #

A French army soldier of the 8th Artillery Regiment takes part in a joint patrol with U.S and Afghan troops in a village in Kharuti, in the mountains of Wardak Province in Afghanistan July 16, 2009. Picture taken through a night vision device. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov) #

A U.S Marine missile from the 2nd MEB strikes a Taliban position inside a mud walled compound near Now Zad in Afghanistan's Helmand province Saturday June 20, 2009. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

U.S Marines from the 2nd MEB, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines battle Taliban fighters inside a mud walled compound near Now Zad in Afghanistan's Helmand province Saturday June 20, 2009. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

U.S Marine Daniel Hinther of Helena, Montana, with the 2nd MEB, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines throws a hand grenade during close quarter battle with Taliban fighters inside a mud walled compound near Now Zad in Afghanistan's Helmand province Saturday June 20, 2009. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

U.S Marine John Daly, right, of Collingdale, Pennsylvania, with the 2nd MEB, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines is helped by a fellow Marine after injuring his ankle in a fall when Taliban fighters opened fire on him and his squad during a gun battle near Now Zad in Afghanistan's Helmand province Saturday June 20, 2009. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

A U.S. army gunner flies in a Chinook helicopter over Kandahar city, June 4, 2009. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva) #

DJ Ashiqullah works at the Garmsir radio station in Helmand province July 7, 2009. The DJs of Radio Garmsir in Afghanistan's lower Helmand River valley knew their station had touched a nerve when the letters started pouring in. First a few, then more, and pretty soon 20 to 30 letters per day, hand delivered to a box outside the NATO base where they broadcast deep into Taliban territory from a desk in a tiny bunker. The letters showed what listeners are aching to hear most is music, banned as un-Islamic by the Taliban. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood) #

In this photograph taken on June 8, 2009, Taliban fighters sit on the ground in a prison after their arrest during the joint Operation Tofan, involving the Afghan National Army and NATO forces, in the Balamurghab district of north western Badghis province. (REZA SHIRMOHAMMADI/AFP/Getty Images) #

U.S. Marines from the 2nd MEB, 1st Battalion 5th Marines arrive at a compound to sleep for the night in a town in the Nawa district of Afghanistan's Helmand province Monday July 6, 2009. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

U.S. Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, 1st Battalion 5th Marines temporarily occupy an abandoned mud walled farm compound in the Nawa district of Afghanistan's Helmand province Friday, July 10, 2009. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

U.S. Marine Sergeant Nathan Harris from Yadkinville, North Carolina (center) with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, RCT 2nd Battalion 8th Marines Echo Co. speaks to an Afghan man through a Marine interpreter (left) after seeing suspicious activity near their base on July 14, 2009 in Mian Poshteh, Afghanistan. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #

A U.S. soldier of 2nd Platoon from the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division looks out of an Armored Security Vehicle (ASV) before departing for a night patrol at Combat Operation Outpost (COP) Conlon in the mountains of Wardak Province in Afghanistan in this July 8, 2009 picture. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov) #

U.S. Marines from the 2nd MEB, 1st Battalion 5th Marines are illuminated by a fire in which they burned their trash, as they settle in for the night in an abandoned compound in the Nawa district in Afghanistan's Helmand province, Saturday, July 5, 2009. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

Afghan National police and U.S. Marines make a joint patrol through the town of Golestan in Afghanistan's Farah Province on June 13, 2009. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

A US Marine of 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade runs to safety moments after an IED blast in Garmsir district of Helmand Province in Afghanistan on July 13, 2009. Two US Marine soldiers were killed when the explosion occured as they tried to clear a route into the Taliban heartland of southern Helmand province. (MANPREET ROMANA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Displaced Pashtun women and children gather together for a meeting under a highway bridge near the village of Kafta Khana, Baghlan province of northern Afghanistan, Thursday, July 9, 2009. Hundreds of Pashtuns were forced to leave their original villages by local Tajiks within Baghlan province. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky) #

A view of the mountain that once held giant Buddhas destroyed by the Taliban in 2001 in Bamiyan, central Afghanistan, seen on June 17, 2009. 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) #

U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Addison Chipoletti from Tampa, Florida of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, RCT 2nd Battalion 8th Marines Echo Co. uses makeshift equipment to work out on July 11, 2009 in Mian Poshteh, Afghanistan. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #

In this photo taken on Monday, June 1, 2009, a fellow soldier holds the hand of U.S. Pfc. Anthony Vandegrift, of Mililani, Hawaii, as he tells him the names of three of their comrades that were killed in the attack that injured him at the U.S. hospital in Bagram Air base, north of Kabul, Afghanistan. Vandegrift, of Bravo Company 287, 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, was wounded and three other soldiers died when the vehicle they were driving was hit by a roadside bomb in the Nerkh district of Wardak province. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) #

U.S. Marine Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson from Bellplain, Minnesota of the 2nd Marine Exhibitionary Brigade, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines Echo Company shows Afghan police recruits the proper shooting position when firing a weapon during a training session on June 27, 2009 in Delaram, Afghanistan. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #

An Afghan woman looks at merchandise at a burqa shop in Herat in western Afghanistan July 2, 2009. Burqa seller Nehmatullah Yusefy's (not in picture) sales at the shop have dropped 50 percent since the Taliban were toppled in 2001 and he says he will soon need to start stocking competing styles of Islamic dress to make up for lost profits. Picture taken July 2, 2009. (REUTERS/ Mohammad Shoiab) #

U.S. Marine Albert Rivas from San Juan, Puerto Rico and the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade sits outside his tent at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan's Helmand province Tuesday June 9, 2009. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

U.S Marines from the 2nd MEB, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines walk from their base near Now Zad in Afghanistan's Helmand province on their way to visit the nearby village of Khwaja Jamal to meet with the local population on Monday June 22, 2009. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

Sixteen-month-old Aubrey Melton reaches for her father, SSG Josh Melton, as she views his body with her mother Larissa before his funeral service on June 27, 2009 in Germantown, Illinois. SSG Melton, who was serving in Afghanistan with the Illinois National Guard, was killed in Kandahar during an IED attack on June 19. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

 
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