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September 28, 2009

Afghanistan, September, 2009

Today's entry is the first of a new regular feature on the Big Picture: a monthly focus on Afghanistan. From now on, I will post such an entry at least once every month as long as necessary. Violence in Afghanistan has reached its most intense of the eight-year-old war despite record levels of U.S. and NATO troops being sent to fight the Taliban. July and August were the two deadliest months to date for coalition forces, and September is already the 3rd-deadliest, with 38 U.S. deaths - 68 total including all coalition members. With an apparently resurgent Taliban and over 120,000 foreign troops on the ground, and a recent push for the U.S. to consider sending 40,000 more (beyond the additional 21,000 troops still committed but yet undeployed), the situation in Afghanistan could possibly become even more intense in the near future. Collected here is a one-month collection of photos related to Afghanistan for September, 2009. [Past entries in category Afghanistan] (43 photos total)

A dust devil whirls past as a soldier from the 1st Company, 4th Rapid Brigade of ISAF Czech contingent based in Tabor, Czech Republic, proceeds to check the targets after completing a shooting exercise at the range in Camp Altimur in Logar province, some 140 km (87 miles) southeast of the capital Kabul, September 25, 2009. (REUTERS/Nikola Solic)

A CH-53 helicopter releases flares after being shot at from the ground while flying over Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan, on September 18, 2009. (DAVID FURST/AFP/Getty Images) #

In this photo taken Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009, Pfc. Kendall Travis takes a break during a patrol in Zerok district, East Paktika province in Afghanistan. Travis is from Spartanburg, S.C., a soldier from the U.S. Army's 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment (Airborne), based at Fort Richardson, Alaska. (AP Photo/Dima Gavrysh) #

One of the six lakes that make up Band-E-Amir National Park is seen September 6, 2009 in Band-E-Amir, Afghanistan. Located in the province of the Bamiyan Buddhas, in central Afghanistan, the park was declared Afghanistan's first National Park on April 22, 2009. Its designation as a National Park will allow Afghanistan to apply for international recognition of Band-e-Amir as a UNESCO World Heritage site. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) #

An Afghan laborer at a brick factory in Jalalabad, looks on at his work site on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup) #

A Special Forces soldier observes as an Afghan National Police officer aims his assault-rifle during training in the village of Nili, Afghanistan on Sept. 18, 2009. The team is among only a few U.S. troops to live among Afghans, but there will likely be more. The hope is to push Special Forces teams into villages throughout Afghanistan, giving them the mission of rebuilding and training Afghan police and soldiers rather than hunting insurgents. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) #

A damaged armored vehicle from the U.S. Army's Alpha Company, 3rd brigade of 10th Mountain Division based in Fort Drum, New York. The damage came from an IED laid by the Taliban along the road near the village of Eber in Logar province September 26, 2009. No one was injured in the incident. (REUTERS/Nikola Solic) #

An Afghan man watches heavy traffic near a marketplace, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup) #

Afghan policemen (background) help a wounded man at the site of a suicide bomb attack at the main gate of a NATO military airport in Kabul on September 8, 2009. A suicide bomber exploded a car outside Kabul's military airport September 8, killing two Afghan civilians and wounding 10 people including four foreign soldiers, officials said. (Pajhwok Photo Service/AFP/Getty Images) #

Supporters of opposition candidate Abdullah Abdullah listen to a speech in a tent during a gathering held in his support in Kabul September 27, 2009. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood) #

Reza holds his daughter Hadisha inside their cave dwelling September 7, 2009 in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Many of the impoverished families living in the caves say they are too poor to live anywhere else even though the government insists that they are doing damage to the area, near the giant Buddhas of Bamiyan, a delicate archaeological site. All are refugees who fled areas of fighting during the Taliban era, and have now returned from the other parts of Afghanistan. The cave dwellers are all Hazara, who are religiously and ethnically distinct and survivors of intense persecution by the Taliban. (Photo Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) #

An Afghan deminer uses a metal detector to search for ordinance on top the archaelogical site of Shahr-i-Gholghola September 2 , 2009 in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Afghan Technical Concultants (ATC) and the UN Mine Action center are working together to clear the ancient preserved ruins in the Bamiyan area, the project started on May 5th and will finish on October 15. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) #

Maj. Gen. William Freeman hands a flag to Shelby Summers, daughter of Army Sgt. 1st Class Severin West Summers III, of Bentonia, Mississippi, at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, Aug. 31, 2009 in Arlington, Virginia. Summers was killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 2, 2009. From left, Freeman, Tammy Summers, wife of Severin West Summers III, and Shelby Summers. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) #

The campaign convoy of parliament candidate Sayed Mahmood Gailan departs September 15, 2005 from the remote town of Desi, Afghanistan. Gailani, who campaigned today in a remote and dangerous area of Ghazni Province heavily infiltrated by Taliban fighters, is one of thousands of candidates running in Afghanistan's first ever parliamentary election. (John Moore/Getty Images) #

Aftab, an Afghan girl, waits to receive vaccination for polio in a UNICEF-organised countrywide campaign, in the central province of Ghor September 13, 2009. Once at the heart of the medieval Ghorid empire stretching between present-day Iran and South Asia, Ghor is now an obscure place, with no proper roads, hospitals and schools. (REUTERS/Maria Golovnina) #

This Sept. 8, 2009 photo shows a soldier with the 6th Kandak Commandos of the Afghan National Army firing a machine gun during night training at their training base close to Rish Khoor village near Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) #

Running past wreckage and body parts, Afghan policemen secure the scene of a blast in Kabul September 17, 2009. A suicide bomber hit a NATO military vehicle on a road between the U.S. embassy and the main airport in the centre of the Afghan capital on Thursday, killing six Italian soldiers and 10 Afghan civilians. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood) #

An Afghan walks through a river outside Feyzabad, east of Kunduz, Afghanistan, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #

A handout image obtained on September 10, 2009, from Britain's Ministry of Defence shows a female Afghan National Police (ANP) officer receiving weapons training on a Sig SauerSmith & Wesson Sigma 9 mm pistol. The first thirteen female ANP recruits will soon be joining their male counterparts. (HANDOUT/AFP/Getty Images) #

Two AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters land in central Afghanistan Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) #

An Afghan man flies a kite during a peace march to Baba Mountain in Bamyan province on September 25, 2009. Some 100 Afghan and foreign citizens paticipated in a "Peace March" from the village of Ali Beg to Lake Boghaso at Baba Moutain in Bamyan province. (MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images) #

A German ISAF soldier gets ready to join a patrol in Yaftal e Sofla, in the mountainous region of Feyzabad, east of Kunduz, Afghanistan, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #

A Canadian army medic examines one of eight children brought to a forward operating base after they fell gravely ill from eating explosive powder at a home in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province September 12, 2009. Roadside bombs made from homemade explosives are the leading killers of foreign troops in Afghanistan. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

Afghan men play soccer in front of the bombed out old royal palace, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009. The palace was designed by a French architect and originally built in 1923 by King Amanullah. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup) #

Afghan children enjoy an evening at an amusement park, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Sept. 25, 2009. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup) #

Pfc. Shiquinn Bell from Holly Hill, S.C., a member of the U.S. Army's 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment (Airborne), based at Fort Richardson, Alaska, plays his guitar at a base in Zerok District, East Paktika province in Afghanistan, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/Dima Gavrysh) #

A German soldier sits next to candles lit to celebrate his 34th birthday, during a long term patrol in Yaftal e Sofla, in the mountainous region of Feyzabad, east of Kunduz, Afghanistan, early Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #

Four-year-old Ella Roberts cuddles the hand of her father Lance Corporal Steven Roberts as he and comrades of 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh parade through Chester to say farewell to the city before deploying on operations to Afghanistan on September 25, 2009 in Chester, England. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) #

Simome, son of Sergent Major Roberto Valente, held by his mother, watches the arrival of the coffins of his father and the other five Italian soldiers of the ISAF who died in a suicide attack on an Italian military convoy in Kabul on Thursday Sept. 17 at Ciampino military airport, near Rome, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images) #

The coffins of the six Italian troopers killed in an attack on an Italian military convoy in Kabul on Thursday Sept. 17 arrive for the state funerals in St. Paul Outside the Walls Basilica, in Rome, Monday, Sept. 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) #

An Afghan villager stares at a US Marine from 2/3 Fox company patrolling in Farah Province, southern Afghanistan, on September 23, 2009. (DAVID FURST/AFP/Getty Images) #

In this photo taken Monday, Sept. 21, 2009, an Afghan national police officer searches a house during a search mission in Naka, East Paktika province in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Dima Gavrysh) #

U.S. Army Pfc. Zach Roberts, 20, from Frostproof, Fla., displays tattoos reading "Death" and "Life" while standing in formation with the 118th Military Police Co. at their combat outpost in the Jalrez Valley in Afghanistan's Wardak Province on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo) #

Soldiers from the U.S. Army's 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment (Airborne), based at Fort Richardson, Alaska, fire a 120mm mortar during a fire mission at the combat outpost Zerok in East Paktika province in Afghanistan, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/Dima Gavrysh) #

US Marines from 2/3 Fox company watch as parachutes loaded equipments to resupply their base in Farah Province, southern Afghanistan, on September 23, 2009. (DAVID FURST/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Canadian soldier shaves using the wing mirror of an armoured vehicle in the Panjwaii district of Kandahar province, September 26, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

Fawad Rahmani, 11, prays inside his home while his brand new pair of braces fitted from the ICRC Orthopedic clinic lay on the ground beside him on September 25, 2009 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Fawad has had polio since he was two years old. Afghanistan is still fighting to eradicate polio - one of the few countries still dealing with the disease. Earlier this month UNICEF launched an immunization campaign targeting 1.2 million children with an aim is to immunize every child under five. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) #

Afghans feed pigeons at the Shrine of Hazrat Ali in Mazar-i-Sharif, northern Afghanistan, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Farzana Wahidy) #

An Afghan boy holds a toy gun as he enjoys a ride with others on a merry-go-round to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr festival, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009. Eid al-Fitr festival marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #

A Canadian soldier works out using a makeshift weight made from barbed wire and rods, in the Panjwaii district of Kandahar province, September 23, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

Pfc. Richard Long, (on bench), from Indian Land, South Carolina, works out, joined by Pfc. Timothy Humphreys from Sallisaw, Oklahoma, part of the U.S. Army's 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment (Airborne), based at Fort Richardson, Alaska. The two are seen reflected in a Humvee mirror mounted to a wall decorated with pictures from a Hooters calendar, in Paktika province in Afghanistan, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009. (AP Photo/Dima Gavrysh) #

The sun appears near the horizon, seen from a U.S. Marine machine gun post for Bravo Company, 1st Battalion 5th Marines, inside a small base known as the Western OP, in Nawa district, Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Friday, Sept. 25, 2009. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) #

Pashtun tribal elder Khaki Jan Zadran, 55, shows his identity card from when he was in the Mujahedeen movement against Soviet forces in the 1980s, during an interview with The Associated Press, in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sept. 11, 2009. Zadran said that he hasn't been able to return to his village in Afghanistan's Paktia province after Taliban-allied gunmen threatened him for his work on the Provincial Council. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup) #

 
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