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Taliban insurgency

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In early April, in an attempt to accelerate the transition of military responsibility to the Afghan government, the US agreed to hand control of special operations missions to Afghan forces, including night raids, relegating American troops to a supporting role. This deal cleared the way for the two countries to move ahead with an agreement that would establish the shape of American support to Afghanistan after the 2014 troop withdrawal deadline. Domestic support for the war (in the US) has dropped sharply. We look back at March in the troubled country. -- Paula Nelson (37 photos total)
Young Afghan women use an umbrella to shield themselves from the sun in Kabul, April 5, 2012. The position of women in Afghanistan has improved dramatically since the fall of the Taliban, with the number of girls in education soaring. But as the Americans and the Afghan government have pursued peace efforts with the Taliban, women are increasingly concerned that gains in their rights may be compromised in a bid to end the costly and deadly war. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

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Tribal elders say the Taliban are far from defeated.  The Taliban continue to wage a brutal war, taking a toll on Afghan citizens and American forces.  The Department of Defense has identified 1,761 American service members who have died in the Afghan war and related operations as of Sept. 21, about 10 years since the start of the war. In visiting Afghanistan monthly in The Big Picture, we try to reflect our troops presence in the country as well as their interaction with the Afghan people.  -- Paula Nelson (54 photos total)
US soldiers from the 27th Infantry Regiment fire 120-mm mortar rounds toward insurgent positions at Outpost Monti in Kunar province on Sept. 17. After a decade of fighting in Afghanistan, 130,000 troops from dozens of countries continue to battle resilient Taliban, who use homemade bombs and guerrilla tactics in a bid to undermine the Afghan government and the NATO mission. (Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images)

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UP HIGH
UP HIGH: A man retrieved belongings from a flooded home after heavy rainfall in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday. More than 200 people have died and 200,000 have been left homeless in the country’s latest bout of flooding. (Fareed Khan/Associated Press)

SPREADING THEIR WINGS
SPREADING THEIR WINGS: A rebel fighter spread a pigeon’s wings at a compound belonging to Col. Moammar Gadhafi in Assdada Fort, Libya, near Sirte, Tuesday. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)

STUNNED STUDENTS
STUNNED STUDENTS: Students wounded when gunmen opened fire on their school van lay at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday. At least four children and the driver were killed in the suspected Taliban attack in Matani, on Peshawar’s outskirts, police said. (Fayaz Aziz/Reuters)

SEEKING HIGHER GROUND
SEEKING HIGHER GROUND: Villagers affected by flooding rode on top of a vehicle into hard-hit Badin, Pakistan, Tuesday. Thousands of men, women and children lined the main road in Badin. Some were sitting under plastic sheets held up by the branches of trees. (Asif Hassan/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)


FIRE! Afghan police officers fired toward buildings that Taliban insurgents took over during an attack on the U.S. Embassy compound in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday. Militants fired grenades and assault rifles at the embassy and other sites in the capital, while suicide bombers struck police buildings. (Ahmad Masood/Reuters)

PUSHING AHEAD
PUSHING AHEAD: A construction worker pushed a cart on top of a building through hazy weather near Beijing’s Central Business District Tuesday. (Alexander F. Yuan/Associated Press)

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On August 6, 2011, American forces in Afghanistan suffered their single deadliest day in the nearly decade-long war, as Taliban insurgents shot down a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, killing 30 Americans and eight Afghans. August continued to be a particularly deadly month for Afghan civilians, who bore the brunt of dozens of attacks and IED explosions across the country. According to the Associated Press, Afghan government officials were apparently angered when they learned of secret American talks with an emissary of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, and in reaction appear to have leaked details of the secret meetings, scuttling the talks and sending the emissary into hiding in Europe. As the U.S. continues its plan to withdraw combat forces by the end of 2014, a negotiated settlement between the Karzai government and the Taliban has become a major goal, but all sides involved are reportedly pursuing separate, often secret discussions with multiple contacts inside the insurgency. Gathered here are images from the ongoing conflict over the past 31 days, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (Editor's note, the next posting here will be on Sunday, September 4th) [41 photos]

US Army Flight Medic Brandon Lowther (left) holds the hand of a fatally wounded US army soldier as he is airlifted by the Medevac helicopter of 159th Brigade Task Force Thunder, on August 24, 2011, to Kandahar Hospital Role 3. Two US soldiers were heavily injured by gun shots and brought to the hospital. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

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Each month in the Big Picture, we post a collection of photographs from Afghanistan.  They feature American forces and those of other countries, and they show us daily life among the Afghan people.  In June, President Obama declared that the United States had largely achieved its goals in Afghanistan, which set in motion an aggressive timetable for the withdrawal of American troops. However, the fighting has spiked in some regions of the country. On Aug. 6, the United States suffered its deadliest day in the nearly decade-long war when insurgents shot down a Chinook transport helicopter, killing 30 Americans and eight Afghans.  According to the United Nations, 360 Afghan civilians were killed in June alone.  The surges of violence reflect how deeply entrenched the insurgency remains even far from its strongholds. The war continues.  -- Paula Nelson (42 photos total)
Villager Juma Khan meets with the provincial district governor and fellow villagers at a shura, or consultation, on July 23 at the US Marine Patrol Base Salaam Bazaar in Helmand province, Afghanistan. As mentors with the international coalition attempt to phase out their involvement and put Afghan institutions in the lead, the Taliban continue to gain strength in many of Helmand's northern communities, where legitimate Afghan governance is more of a plan than a reality. (David Goldman/Associated Press)

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In the month of July, 54 coalition soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, including 32 Americans. This was as the United States began drawing down its forces, with some 10,000 U.S. troops due to pull out by the end of the year. Currently, the U.S. has some 150,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan. This month also saw an escalation in recent assassinations claimed by the Taliban, as both the mayor of Kandahar and President Hamid Karzai's half-brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, were killed. The assassinations and continued suicide attacks are heightening uncertainty in the face of troop withdrawals, despite assurances from both coalition and Afghan officials. Gathered here are images from the ongoing conflict over the past 31 days, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. [41 photos]

Members of the Third Platoon, Bravo Battery of the Automatic Battalion, 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment, light up the Zabul province night firing their M777A2 howitzer at suspected enemy movements from Forward Operating Base Pasab, Zharay District, Zabul province, Afghanistan, on July 20, 2011. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Christopher McCann)

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The month of May in Afghanistan opened with news of US Navy SEALs killing Osama bin Laden. Suicide bombings claimed lives throughout the country, one injuring the top German commander. Another outside the Italian military base in Herat west of Kabul killed at least five. As the month closed, President Hamid Karzai issued vague warnings against Western airstrikes that cause civilian casualties. Gathered here in our monthly collection from Afghanistan are images of the US military mission and daily life in the country of just under 30 million people. -- Lloyd Young (45 photos total)
n Afghan youth looks on as a US Marine from 3rd Battalion 9th Marines Kodiak Company stands guard during a patrol in Kote Tazagul area in Marjah district in Helmand Province on May 24, 2011. US lawmakers saw momentum for political reconciliation in Afghanistan in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death, but voiced fear that the fight against extremism was floundering in Pakistan. (Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images)

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KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — On the dashboard of his truck, Nowsher Awan keeps a colorful little box and a toy puppy biting on a candy cane. He says he bought the knickknacks in a market because “they just made me happy.”
He’s a humble man, this 30-year-old Pakistani in his torn plastic sandals, making a 435-mile [...]

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This past month, much of the attention focused on Afghanistan centered on the release of thousands of classified documents from the war effort by WikiLeaks. While the consensus appears to be that nothing significantly new was revealed by the release, the picture painted by the documents remains rather bleak. NATO and the United States now have 143,000 troops in Afghanistan, set to peak at 150,000 in coming weeks as they take a counter-insurgency offensive into the insurgents' southern strongholds. Taliban control remains difficult to dislodge, and once removed from an area, Taliban forces often return once larger forces leave a region, especially in rural areas where local government presence remains small. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (47 photos total)
A U.S. Marine Corps F-18 Hornet aircraft prepares to refuel over Afghanistan July 8, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andy M. Kin/Released)

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Afghanistan - United States - Taliban - War in Afghanistan - NATO

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