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Earlier this week, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta indicated that American forces in Afghanistan would be accelerating their withdrawal. "Hopefully by the mid-to-latter part of 2013," Panetta said, "we'll be able to make a transition from a combat role to a training, advice, and assist role." This announcement came shortly after the Taliban declared its plans to open a political office in Qatar, allowing for direct peace negotiations. At the moment, the U.S. still has 90,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan, with 22,000 scheduled to return home later this year. Gathered here are images of the people and places involved in this conflict over the past month, as part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. [42 photos]

Men of 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, during an operation near the end of their third deployment in three years in Afghanistan. They were securing route 611, which runs Kajaki Sofla, an area that had long been a safe haven for insurgent sub-commanders and for arms and drug trafficking. (Cpl. James Clark/USMC)

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deepnight_dog.jpg
Created for Ludum Dare 22, DeepNight's Last Breath is a sleek, polished take on the theme and one that might extract a tear or two from the more sentimental members of audience. The premise here is fairly simple. A rather adorable-looking dog has fallen through a hole in the ground and unlike most humans in similar circumstances, he's not particularly consternated by his situation. Unfortunately, things aren't going to be easy for our pixelated pooch. He's not completely alone in this subterranean world. His Shadow, a separate entity that loathes him to no end, is also present. This would not be an issue were it not for the fact that the thing wants our canine compatriot dead.

Most of your time in Last Breath will be divided between the collection of self-levitating red balls and the avoidance of your homicidal doppelganger. As is often the case, this is easier said and done. Fortunately, however, the controls are rather smooth. My only qibble with the game is the fact that it can periodically lag for no reason whatsoever but that might just be my hardware.

You can check out the game here.

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