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Kandahar Province

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The New York Times- The use of air power has changed markedly during the long Afghan conflict, reflecting the political costs and sensitivities of civilian casualties caused by errant or indiscriminate strikes and the increasing use of aerial drones, which can watch over potential targets for extended periods with no risk to pilots or more [...]

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Since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in the fall of 2001, NATO and Afghan troops have relied on outposts, tiny bases erected in some of the least hospitable terrain to ever see combat. The outposts are places of refuge; the troops sleep, fight and sometimes live behind their makeshift walls. Many are no bigger than a tennis court and could only hold perhaps a dozen troops at a time. To protect them from the bullets and rockets of their enemies, NATO troops built walls from tightly-stacked sandbags or Hesco barriers, wire mesh baskets they fill with dirt and rocks that absorb the projectiles.

Donovan Wylie’s new book, Outposts: Kandahar Province and an accompanying exhibition at the U.K.’s National Media Museum show us some of the tiniest such bases in the remote areas of southern Afghanistan. Built by Canadian and American troops over a five year stretch from 2006 to 2011, the photographs in Wylie’s collection explain the practical requirements of the outposts–they are often built on high ground with open fields of fire to overwatch troops patrolling below–and show the crude architectural beauty that accompanies structures designed for practicality and the limits of the terrain. In one photograph, a tiny collection of barriers stands on an escarpment just below a towering peak. Because of their temporary construction, these outposts aren’t likely to survive, as Hadrian’s Wall and Masada, which beckon visitors as remnants of ancient war. That is why photographs are so important—to document how the first war of the 21st century was waged, with the most sophisticated weaponry, often utilized from fortifications that have changed little throughout the centuries.

Donovan Wylie is a photographer with Magnum Photos. See more of his work here. Outposts: Kandahar Province will soon be published by Steidl. The accompanying exhibition will be on view at the National Media Museum in Bradford, the U.K. through Feb. 19.

Nate Rawlings is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @naterawlings. Continue the discussion on TIME‘s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

MORE: Afghanistan: The Photographs That Moved Them Most

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DAWN PATROL DAWN PATROL: U.S. troops and Afghan soldiers conducted a joint security patrol Thursday in Kandalay village in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. (Romeo Gacad/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

KITE STRINGS KITE STRINGS: A craftsman prepared threads for flying kites in Jammu, India, Thursday. (Channi Anand/Associated Press)

NEON MOHWAK NEON MOHWAK: Fans attended the annual Rebellion Punk Rock Festival Thursday in Blackpool, England. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

CAMPING PROTESTERS CAMPING PROTESTERS: Protesters slept in a tent camp on Thursday in Tel Aviv. Demonstrators were protesting against rising housing prices and social inequalities. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

TOBACCO CEILING TOBACCO CEILING: Tobacco farmer Ran Yunfu arranged cured tobacco leaves in Xuan’en, China, Thursday. (Song Wen/Xinhua/Zuma Press)

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CAIRO PROTEST
CAIRO PROTEST: An Egyptian protester injured by tear gas was taken away on a motorcycle during clashes with the police in front of the Interior Ministry in Cairo Wednesday. Police fired tear gas on hundreds of people demanding faster trials of Mubarak-era senior officials. (Mohamed Abd El-Ghany /Reuters)

RIDE HOME
RIDE HOME: Children hung out of the back window of a three-wheeled motor rickshaw on their way home from school in Ahmedabad, India, Wednesday. The vehicles routinely carry more than their prescribed capacity. (Ajit Solanki/Associated Press)

BOMBING VICTIM
BOMBING VICTIM: A victim of a bomb blast lay on a hospital bed at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital in northeastern Nigeria Wednesday. The U.S. and EU have condemned a spate of bombings and assassinations in that part of the country. (Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters)

AFGHAN OPERATION
AFGHAN OPERATION: Canadian army Cpl. Mathieu Caron, 23, of Quebec searched a room inside a compound Wednesday in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Canadian combat operations in the country will end this month. (David Goldman/Associated Press)

PREP WORK
PREP WORK: An Indian worker prepared to tie bamboo poles as he raised a temporary shelter at Lord Jagannath temple in Ahmedabad, India Wednesday. An annual chariot procession there is scheduled to begin Sunday. (Ajit Solanki/Associated Press)

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WATER FIGHT
WATER FIGHT: Children attended a ceremony marking the opening of city pools Wednesday in Philadelphia. Thanks to a last-minute splash of private funds, city pools in Philadelphia opened this summer for overheated residents. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

ON PARADE
ON PARADE: Around 220 soldiers in the the Second Battalion, the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, marched through the city of Brighton, England, Wednesday after returning from Afghanistan. (Zuma Press)

DEADLY PROTEST
DEADLY PROTEST: A man broke the windshield of a government bus after protesters set it on fire in Gauhati, India, Wednesday. Two people were killed in a protest against squatter evictions, as riot police fired tear gas and live rounds into the air to disperse the crowd of thousands. (Anupam Nath/Associated Press)

BOAT RIDE
BOAT RIDE: People waited for a boat at the harbor in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday. (Ramon Espinosa/Associated Press)

SQUATTERS’ RIGHTS
SQUATTERS’ RIGHTS: An Indian policeman and an activist from the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti clashed during a demonstration in Gauhati, India, Wednesday. The protesters were demanding an end to the evictions of squatters from bamboo huts built into the hills around the city. (AFP/Getty Images)

FACING OFF
FACING OFF: Pakistani Kushti wrestlers sparred during their daily training in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday. Kushti, an Indo-Pakistani form of wrestling, is a national sport in Pakistan. (Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press)

FANCY FEAST
FANCY FEAST: Lobsters were prepared to be grilled at the ‘Salon Prive’ car show Wednesday in London. The annual three-day Salon Prive offers the opportunity to view exotic modern and vintage cars. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE
POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE: Graduates of Huazhong University of Science and Technology attended their graduation ceremony in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, Wednesday. (Zuma Press)

CATCHING SOME RAYS
CATCHING SOME RAYS: Canadian army soldiers sunbathed at Seprwan Ghar forward-fire base in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, Wednesday. Canada has about 2,800 soldiers in the volatile southern Afghan province on a combat mission that is due to end this year. (Baz Ratner/Reuters)

HOT STUFF
HOT STUFF: A girl carried a basket of chillies on her head after picking them from a field in Noida in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh Wednesday. (Parivartan Sharma/Reuters)

LOOKING BACK
LOOKING BACK: School boys held torches in front of a Soviet World War II war monument early Wednesday during a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the town of Brest, Belarus. (Sergei Grits/Associated Press)

MIGRANT WORKERS
MIGRANT WORKERS: An Indonesian migrant worker who was going to be sent to Saudi Arabia sat during an inspection by police after a raid at a shelter in Bekasi, Indonesia, Wednesday. About 10 pregnant and underage workers were found at a shelter operated by a migrant worker placement company. (Mast Irham/European Pressphoto Agency)

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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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(AP) The U.S. death toll has mounted in recent weeks as American troops try to extend their reach in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, while insurgents have mounted a summer counteroffensive aimed at both international troops and the Afghan government.
June was the deadliest month for U.S. and international forces with the deaths of [...]

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