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February 3, 2011

Afghanistan, January 2011

President Obama recently spoke about the War in Afghanistan in his State of the Union address: “Thanks to our heroic troops and civilians, fewer Afghans are under the control of the insurgency. There will be tough fighting ahead, and the Afghan government will need to deliver better governance. But we are strengthening the capacity of the Afghan people and building an enduring partnership with them. This year, we will work with nearly 50 countries to begin a transition to an Afghan lead. And this July, we will begin to bring our troops home.” With this post, we continue the monthly look at the men and women who live and fight in the country and at the Afghan people themselves as they struggle for peace in their land. At the end of the regular post I've included 14 additional images by Associated Press photographer Kevin Frayer. The images are black and white aerials - a unique view - of Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan. -- Paula Nelson (48 photos total)

Sergeant Quincey Northern, a medic with the US Army's Task Force Shadow "Dust Off,’’ Charlie Company 1-214 Aviation Regiment, gathers his equipment after finishing a medevac mission and arriving back at Camp Dwyer, in southern Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on Thursday, Jan. 27. Medevac units may make several runs a day - at times under fire - to evacuate both injured troops and Afghan civilians. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press)

Sergeant Darryl McKinstry, a medic, runs toward a Marine wounded by an improvised explosive device before moving him to a medevac helicopter in southern Helmand Province, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Jan. 26. Such devices, essentially homemade bombs, are the biggest killer of US soldiers in Afghanistan. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press) #

Sergeant Darrell McKinstry, a medic, leads Marines carrying a comrade wounded by an improvised explosive device to a medevac helicopter in southern Helmand Province, on Wednesday, Jan. 26. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press) #

Specialist Jenny Martinez, a crew chief, assists in treating a wounded Marine onboard a helicopter. The Marine was injured by an improvised explosive device near Marjah, in southern Helmand Province, Thursday, Jan. 27. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press) #

As medics tend to a wounded Marine aboard a medevac helicopter, his combat boot is placed next to him. An improvised explosive device injured him near Marjah, in southern Helmand Province, on Thursday, Jan. 27. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press) #

A Marine carries a wounded colleague to a medevac helicopter after their convoy, including the destroyed truck at background, hit an improvised explosive device near Marjah in Helmand Province on Thursday, Jan. 27. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press) #

Sergeant Quincey Northern of Louisiana, a medic, leads Marines as they carry an Afghan civilian wounded by insurgent gunfire to a medevac helicopter in southern Helmand Province on Tuesday, Jan. 25. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press) #

Marines from First Battalion Eighth Bravo, during an operation in Zalmabad village in Musa Qala district of Helmand province on Jan. 23. A 140,000-strong force of NATO-led international troops is fighting a Taliban-led insurgency, a war that is now in its 10th year. (Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Marine greets children during a patrol outside Musa Qala District Center base on Jan. 28. Musa Qala is the Marines’ newest base in southern Afghanistan. The troops recently replaced British forces in the area, considered an essential junction that had been held by the Taliban. (Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images) #

Marines take position during a patrol in Musa Qala on Jan. 28. The Marine Corps has been at the vanguard of a NATO-backed push into areas held by the Taliban. (Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images) #

After a patrol in Musa Qala on Jan. 30, Marines engage in a little horseplay. (Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images) #

Marines protect their faces as a helicopter lands at Musa Qala base in Helmand province on Jan. 27. (Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Marine and an interpreter ask Afghan children to bring them some bread in Musa Qala district on Jan. 30. The district had been a key post in the opium trade. (Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images) #

Marines from First Battalion Eighth Bravo patrol near Zalmabad village in Musa Qala district of Helmand province on Jan. 23. “We've definitely had a lot of progress because we do so many patrols, we get out, we put our faces out there," Lieutenant Pete Carrothers told AFP. (Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images) #

Marines rest in a compound near Shir Chazay in Musa Qala district of Helmand province on Jan. 22. (Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Marine watches a fire in Musa Qala on Jan. 30. (Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Marine has neatly aligned bullets on his bed as he cleans his rifle at Musa Qala base on Jan. 27. (Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Marine plays with a duck as he takes a break following a patrol in Musa Qala on Jan. 24. (Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images) #

Marines from First Battalion Eighth Bravo collect water inside their fortification in Musa Qala district of Helmand province on Jan. 25. The Marines’ work is part of a 30,000 surge in US troops ordered by President Obama last year. (Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Marine plays guitar in a kitchen in the Musa Qala District Center base on Feb. 1. (Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images) #

Marines sit near a fire as they rest after a patrol in Musa Qala on Jan. 23. (Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images) #

Their meal comes late for Marines after they patrolled during an operation in Zalmabad village in Musa Qala district on Jan. 22. “This is amazing (but) it's slow in the grand scheme of things,’’ Major Justin Ansel told AFP, discussing the Marines’ progress in the district. (Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images) #

A mine clearing specialist from the French Foreign Legion searches for improvised explosive devices on a road near Tagab in Kapisa Province on Jan. 25. The French Foreign Legion, a military unit established in 1831, was created for foreign nationals of any nationality wishing to serve in the French armed forces. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images) #

French soldiers patrol a mountainside near Tagab in Kapisa Province on Jan. 25. France is “determined’’ to keep troops in Afghanistan despite a threat from Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden linking their mission to the fate of French hostages, the foreign ministry said. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images) #

A French soldier holds up leaflets to be distributed local villagers showing the difference between coalition soldiers and insurgents, during a patrol near Tagab in Kapisa Province on Jan. 25. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Hungarian legionnaire from the French Foreign Legion inspects an Afghan man near Tagab in Kapisa Province on Jan. 25. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images) #

Suspected Taliban fighters stand at a police station in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, on Jan. 26. Eleven Taliban fighters were arrested by Afghan police in a recent operation. (Rahmat Gul/Associated Press) #

A man runs through a burning supermarket on Jan. 28 in central Kabul after an explosion rocked the store frequented by foreigners. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed nine people, and said it was aimed at an executive of the Blackwater private security firm. Workers of the firm were nearby but uninjured. The company was singled out because “they are invaders, and secondly, they are protecting the invaders,” said a Taliban spokesman. (Ahmad Massoud/Associated Press) #

Afghan security and rescue personnel secure the site of the suicide attack at 'Finest' supermarket on Jan. 28, 2011 in Kabul. Among the nine killed was an Afghan family whose mother was the leading activist against the recruitment of children in Afghan forces. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #

An Afghan policeman walks over shards of glass and paper at the site of a suicide attack at 'Finest' supermarket on Jan. 28 in Kabul. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #

Of the nine people killed in the suicide attack at “Finest’’ supermarket in Kabul, five were foreign women. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #

Afghan security personnel place the body of a blast victim in a police vehicle at “Finest’’ supermarket in Kabul. (Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images) #

An injured woman is escorted out of “Finest” supermarket in central Kabul after the suicide attack. (Rahmat Gul/Associated Press) #

Shards of glass mix with debris from the supermarket after a suicide bomb attack in Kabul on Jan. 28. (Ahmad Masood/Reuters) #

Afghan men stand next to an auto rickshaw near farmers' fields on Jan. 20. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press) #

Afghans work in a traditional brick factory on Jan. 20. (Kevin Frayer/ Associated Press) #

A NATO military re-supply convoy kicks up dust on Jan. 21. (Kevin Frayer/ Associated Press) #

An Afghan shepherd directs his sheep through an opening in a mud wall on Jan. 21. (Kevin Frayer/ Associated Press) #

A section of the Helmand River Valley, Jan. 21. (Kevin Frayer/ Associated Press) #

Camels near Marjah in Helmand province, Jan. 25. (Kevin Frayer/ Associated Press) #

Marines gather around a colleague wounded by an improvised explosive device as they wait for a medevac helicopter on Jan. 26. (Kevin Frayer/ Associated Press) #

A medevac helicopter casts a shadow as it lands near Marjah on Jan. 26. (Kevin Frayer/ Associated Press) #

An Afghan boy, Jan. 27. (Kevin Frayer/ Associated Press) #

The town of Marjah, Jan. 27. (Kevin Frayer/ Associated Press) #

Marines in military vehicles, Jan. 27. (Kevin Frayer/ Associated Press) #

Afghans play a game of soccer, Jan. 20. (Kevin Frayer/ Associated Press) #

An Afghan man leads camels across the desert, Jan. 25. (Kevin Frayer/ Associated Press) #


 
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