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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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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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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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People observe a moment of silence during ceremonies at the World Trade Center site for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001 in New York City. New York City and the nation are commemorating the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on lower Manhattan which resulted in the deaths of 2,753 people when two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center. Security has been heightened in both New York City and Washington D.C. following a terrorist threat about a car bomb.

A P-51 Mustang airplane crashes into the edge of the grandstands at the Reno Air show on Friday, Sept. 16, 2011 in Reno Nevada. The World War II-era fighter plane flown by a veteran Hollywood stunt pilot Jimmy Leeward plunged Friday into the edge of the grandstands during the popular air race creating a horrific scene strewn with smoking debris.

 September 19, 2011

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People observe a moment of silence during ceremonies at the World Trade Center site for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001 in New York City. New York City and the nation are commemorating the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on lower Manhattan which resulted in the deaths of 2,753 people when two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center. Security has been heightened in both New York City and Washington D.C. following a terrorist threat about a car bomb. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

 September 19, 2011

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The Tribute in Light rises over the Brooklyn Bridge and lower Manhattan, Monday, Sept. 12, 2011, in New York. A day earlier the city held a memorial at Ground Zero for the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the United States. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) #

 September 19, 2011

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In this Monday, Sept. 12, 2011 image taken from video, a group of people tilt a burning BMW up to free Brandon Wright, on his back on the ground, who was pinned underneath after he collided with the car while riding his motorcycle on U.S. 89 in Logan, Utah. Authorities said Wright was riding his motorcycle near the Utah State University campus in Logan when the 21-year-old collided with the BMW that was pulling out of a parking lot. Tire and skid marks on the highway indicate that Wright laid the bike down and slid along the road before colliding with the car, Assistant Police Chief Jeff Curtis said. (AP Photo/Chris Garff) #

 September 19, 2011

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A visitor poses in front of a beluga swimming inside an aquarium at the Laohutan Ocean Park in Dalian, in northeast China's Liaoning province, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #

 September 19, 2011

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A woman at the National September 11 Memorial, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, mourns the loss of her son who died during during attacks at the World Trade Center, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Carolyn Cole, Pool) #

 September 19, 2011

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Robert Peraza, who lost his son Robert David Peraza in the attacks at the World Trade Center, pauses at his son's name at the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial before the 10th anniversary ceremony at the site, Sunday Sept. 11, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Justin Lane, Pool) #

 September 19, 2011

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A man walks among nearly 3,000 flags set up as part of a remembrance on 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) #

 September 19, 2011

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A rose is placed on an inscribed name along the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial during the tenth anniversary ceremonies of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center site, September 11, 2011 in New York City. New York City and the nation are commemorating the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks which resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people after two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and one crash landed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images) #

 September 19, 2011

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The Tribute in Light shines above Lower Manhattan, marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks at the World Trade Center site, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) #

 September 19, 2011

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In this Friday, Sept. 16, 2011 photo, a P-51 Mustang airplane approaches the ground right before crashing during an air show in Reno, Nev. The vintage World War II-era fighter plane piloted by Jimmy Leeward plunged into the grandstands during the popular annual air show. (AP Photo/Garret Woodman) #

 September 19, 2011

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A P-51 Mustang airplane crashes into the edge of the grandstands at the Reno Air show on Friday, Sept. 16, 2011 in Reno Nevada. The World War II-era fighter plane flown by a veteran Hollywood stunt pilot Jimmy Leeward plunged Friday into the edge of the grandstands during the popular air race creating a horrific scene strewn with smoking debris. (AP Photo/Ward Howes) #

 September 19, 2011

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A single engine T-28 from the six-plane Trojan Horsemen Demonstration Flight Team crashes and explodes during a performance at the Thunder Over the Blue Ridge Open House and Air Show, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011 at the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg, W.Va. (AP Photo/Journal Newspaper, Ron Agnir) #

 September 19, 2011

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A firefighter places an American flag on a memorial display while preparing for 9/11 ceremonies at FDNY Ladder 20 Engine 13 on September 9, 2011 in New York City. Ladder 20 lost seven firefighters on September 11, 2001. New York City and the nation are preparing for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on lower Manhattan, which resulted in the deaths of 2,753 people at the World Trade Center(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

 September 19, 2011

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Las Vegas firefighter Capt. Eric Littmann walks in a parade commemorating the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in Las Vegas. ( AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) #

 September 19, 2011

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A general view shows a crowded beer tent during the opening day of the Oktoberfest 2011 beer festival at Theresienwiese on September 17, 2011 in Munich, Germany. The world's biggest beer festival starts September 17 and runs until October 3, 2011. (Photo by Alexandra Beier/Getty Images) #

 September 19, 2011

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Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, watches as referee Joe Cortez gives Victor Ortiz Floyd a ten count after he was knocked down by Mayweather during their WBC welterweight title fight Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) #

 September 19, 2011

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The street circuit of the Formula One night race is illuminated during a light testing seen from Swissotel The Stamford at dusk on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011 in Singapore which will be the host city for the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix from Sept. 23-25. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) #

 September 19, 2011

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Palestinian children gather near the beach in Deir Al Balah, central Gaza Strip, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) #

 September 19, 2011

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2nd Lt. Andrew Ferrara, 23, of Torrance, Calif., with the U.S. Army's Bravo Company of the 25th Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Battalion 27th Infantry Regiment, based in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, turns from the rotor wash of a landing Blackhawk helicopter during a mission for a key leader engagement at the Shigal district center Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011 in Kunar province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #

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Air Force One, with President Barack Obama aboard, arrives at Raleigh Durham International Airport in Morrisville, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, where President Obama will speak about the American Jobs Act. (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds) #

 September 19, 2011

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Firefighters try to put out a wildfire at a national reserve in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Sept. 9, 2011. Drought, high temperatures and low humidity have caused wildfires at several places around Brasilia, according to officials. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres) #

 September 19, 2011

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Joseph Mwangi, 34, sits in a state of shock after discovering the charred remains of two of his children, one aged 6 the other of unknown age, at the scene of a fuel explosion in Nairobi, Kenya, Monday, Sept. 12, 2011. A leaking gasoline pipeline in Kenya's capital exploded on Monday, turning part of a slum into an inferno in which scores of people were killed and more than 100 hurt. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis) #

 September 19, 2011

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Survivors use flotsam Saturday, Sept 10, 2011, after an overcrowded ship sank in deep sea between mainland Tanzania and Pemba Island at about 1 a.m. Saturday with about 600 people onboard. The numbers involved are unclear as the ferry, M.V. Spice Islanders, is thought to have been heavily overloaded and some potential passengers refused to board when it was leaving the mainland port of Dar es Salaam, said survivor Abdullah Saied. About 230 people have been rescued and 40 bodies recovered but about 370 people are still reported missing, said Mohamed Aboud, minister for the Vice President's Office. (AP Photo/Capt Neil van Ejik Whirlwind Aviation) #

 September 19, 2011

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A German soldier lifts weights at his combat outpost in Char Darah, outisde Kunduz, Afghanistan, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #

 September 19, 2011

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A man sets himself on fire outside a branch of Piraeus bank in the northern port city of Thessaloniki, Greece, Friday Sept. 16, 2011. It was a third attempted self-immolation by the former small business owner, who says he was ruined after taking a series of bank loans. The 56-year-old was hospitalized with non life-threatening chest burns. (AP Photo/Nontas Stlianidis) #

 September 19, 2011

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A girl runs across a flooded road as water recedes in Puri district, about 55 kilometers (34 miles) from the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneshwar, Friday, Sept. 16, 2011. Aerial food drops were suspended after five days Friday as flood waters began to recede in the Mahanadi delta in Orissa state. At least 26 people died and 12 others went missing during the devastating floods which affected people in 19 districts of the state, official sources said. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout) #

 September 19, 2011

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Soyuz TMA-21 space capsule lands with Expedition 28 Commander Andrei Borisenko, and Flight Engineers Ron Garan, and Alexander Samokutyayev in a remote area outside of the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on Friday, Sept. 16, 2011. NASA Astronaut Garan, Russian Cosmonauts Borisenko and Samokutyaev are returning from more than five months onboard the International Space Station where they served as members of the Expedition 27 and 28 crews. (AP Photo/Sergei Ilnitsky, Pool) #

 September 19, 2011

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NASA Astronaut Ron Garan, left, Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyayev, center, and Andrei Borisenko, right, are seen inside Russian Soyuz TMA-21 space capsule after its landing about 150 kilometers (94 miles) southeast of the Kazakh town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on Friday, Sept. 16, 2011. NASA Astronaut Garan, Russian Cosmonauts Borisenko and Samokutyayev are returning from more than five months onboard the International Space Station where they served as members of the Expedition 27 and 28 crews. (AP Photo/Sergei Remezov, Pool) #

 September 19, 2011

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Nepalese women remove bricks of the damaged house to make way for pedestrians after an earthquake of magnitude 6.9 shook northeastern India on Sunday night, in Katmandu, Nepal, Monday, Sept. 19, 2011. Rescue workers used shovels and their bare hands to pull bodies from the debris of collapsed buildings Monday, as the death toll from an earthquake that hit northeast India, Nepal and Tibet rises. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha) #

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(AP) – Determined never to forget but perhaps ready to move on, the nation gently handed Sept. 11 over to history Sunday and etched its memory on a new generation. A stark memorial took its place where twin towers once stood, and the names of the lost resounded from children too young to remember terror from a decade ago.

In New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, across the United States and the world, people carried out rituals now as familiar as they are heartbreaking: American flags unfurled at the new World Trade Center tower and the Eiffel Tower, and tears shed at the base of the Pentagon and a base in Iraq.

It was the 10th time the nation has paused to remember a defining day. In doing so, it closed a decade that produced two wars, deep changes in national security, shifts in everyday life – and, months before it ended, the death at American hands of the elusive terrorist who masterminded the attack.

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Dawn breaks over ground zero in lower Manhattan on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. The two memorial fountains, among the largest artificial waterfalls in the world, sit where the twin towers stood. (James Estrin/The New York Times) #

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A woman at the National September 11 Memorial, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, mourns the loss of her son who died during attacks at the World Trade Center, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Carolyn Cole, Pool) #

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People gather during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, outside the World Trade Center site in New York. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty) #

 Remembering 9/11

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People pay their respects during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, outside the World Trade Center site in New York. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty) #

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Hikers unfurl a large flag on the top of Peak One of the Ten Mile Range outside of Frisco, Colo., Sept. 11, 2011. The Sunday following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, several dozen friends climbed the peak to raise an American flag, and on Sunday, many of the same group made a return trek. (Matthew Staver/The New York Times) #

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Some of those attending the 10th anniversary commemoration of the attacks on the World Trade center sought out the engravings of loved ones' names on the walls surrounding the reflecting pool, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011 in New York. Here, Corey Gaugioso traces the name of his sister, Candace Lee Williams, who was on Flight 11, which crashed into the same tower where she worked for Merrill Lynch. (AP Photo/David Handschuh, #

 Remembering 9/11

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Las Vegas firefighter Capt. Eric Littmann walks in a parade commemorating the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) #

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Construction cranes sit atop One World Trade Center as dawn breaks over the New York skyline on Sunday morning, Sept. 11, 2011, the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks. (Librado Romero/The New York Times) #

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Beverly Hills Police officers gather just after dawn to remember the moment the first plane struck the World Trade Center on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 in Beverly Hills, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Jason Redmond) #

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People pause by the waterfall pool at the National September 11 Memorial before a planned ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks at the World Trade Center site, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) #

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On the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, visitors stand at the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., Sept. 11, 2011. (Michael Appleton/The New York Times) #

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Robert Peraza, who lost his son Robert David Peraza in the attacks at the World Trade Center, pauses at his son's name at the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial before the 10th anniversary ceremony at the site, Sunday Sept. 11, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Justin Lane, Pool) #

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Police and firefighters march in formation as they carry a folded flag past one of the memorial pools at the Sept. 11 memorial, during the 10th anniversary observance of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in New York,. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool) #

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A man walks among nearly 3,000 flags set up as part of a remembrance on 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) #

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Members of the Texas State Guard 1st. Battalion, 1st. Regiment Alamo Guards stand by a piece of the World Trade Center during the City of San Antonio, Texas commemoration at Alamo Plaza, of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S., Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/The San Antonio Express-News, Jerry Lara) #

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Bagpipers walk past the the National Sept. 11 Memorial during a commemoration ceremony in New York on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, Sept. 11, 2011. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times) #

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People listen during a memorial service at the Pentagon September 11, 2011 in Arlington, Virginia. Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Navy Admiral Mike Mullen and others attended the service at the Pentagon Memorial to commemorate the 10th anniversary the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images) #

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Kelley Korona and husband Marc Robinson, left, a Purple Heart recipient, from Canton, share a moment at the Michigan Remembers 9/11 Fund's Detroit Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K run/walk/roll on Belle Isle in Detroit, on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. Proceeds send two Michigan firefighters to the Sept 25 Tunnel to Towers run in New York City. (AP Photo/The Detroit News, David Coates) #

 Remembering 9/11

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A friar stands near a bunker coat and helmet belonging to FDNY chaplain Mychal Judge during a memorial service and dedication ceremony to induct the two items into the permanent display at the New York City Fire Museum on September 11, 2011 in New York City. New York City firefighters are commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and honoring the 343 firefighters who died in the line of duty. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) #

 Remembering 9/11

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Firefighters attend a memorial service for firefighters killed on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on lower Manhattan at the Firemen's Monument at Riverside Park on September 11, 2011 in New York City. Firefighters from around the world have converged on New York to take part in the anniversary services. New York City and the nation are commemorating the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks which resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people after two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and one crash landed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

 Remembering 9/11

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Family members look at the names of victims inscribed on the wall of one of the pools at the National September 11 Memorial during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011 at the World Trade Center site in New York. (AP Photo/Lucas Jackson, Pool) #

 Remembering 9/11

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Firefighters attend a memorial service for firefighters killed on 9/11 at the Firemen's Monument at Riverside Park on September 11, 2011 in New York City. Firefighters from around the world have converged on New York to take part in the anniversary services. New York City and the nation are commemorating the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks which resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people after two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and one crash landed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

 Remembering 9/11

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People gather during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, outside the World Trade Center site in New York. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty) #

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Firefighters climb the stairs of the Pleasant Valley Drill Tower in Austin, Texas, during the 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. About 50 firefighters from several area fire departments participated in the event. Each firefighter climbed 108 flights of stairs - roughly the height of of the World Trade Center - to remember those firefighters who died in the 9/11 terror attacks. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner) #

 Remembering 9/11

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Celeste Pocher embraces her daughter after finding her brother in law's name, John Pocher at the north pool at the National September 11 Memorial during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks at the World Trade Center, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) #

 Remembering 9/11

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A rider from the Ride 2 Recovery 9/11 Challenge walks through the Empty Sky memorial in Liberty State Park Sunday Sept. 11, 2011 in Jersey City, N.J. From Liberty State Park the ride will go to the United 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., and then on to the Pentagon in Washington DC, a total of 530 miles in 8 days. (AP Photo/Joe Epstein) #

 Remembering 9/11

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New York Firefighter Zachary Fletcher embraces his mother Monica Fletcher after finding his twin brother Andre G. Fletcher's name engraved at the south pool of the National September 11 Memorial during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks at World Trade Center, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) #

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New York City fire department paramedic John Rugen, center left, buries his face in his hand during a 9/11 memorial service at the Peace Arch-Douglas border crossing in Surrey, British Columbia, on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. Hundreds of people gathered at the Canada-U.S. border to mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck) #

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A U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant who asked that his name not be used, kneels near his father's name after a remembrance ceremony at the Garden of Reflection Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011 in Yardley, Pa. The memorial honors nine people from Lower Makefield Township, where the memorial is located, eighteen people from Bucks County, and all 58 people from Pennsylvania that lost their lives in the attacks Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) #

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Alicia Bergstein, center, comforts her children Devin Bergstein, left, and Adrianna Bergstein while visiting the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site in New York, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. Daniel Bergstein, Alicia husband and the childrens' father, was killed in the Sept. 11 2001 terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool) #

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A photograph of Grace Cua is placed near her name at the National Sept. 11 Memorial in New York on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, Sept. 11, 2011. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times) #

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Family members of those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks, gather at the edge of the north reflecting pool of the Sept. 11 memorial during 10th anniversary ceremonies at the site, in New York, Sunday Sept. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Chip Somodevilla, Pool) #

 Remembering 9/11

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Roses are left on the bronze plaques that bear the names of the victims of the September 11 terror attacks on one of the reflecting pool walls at the Sept. 11 memorial, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011 in New York. Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Chip Somodevilla, Pool) #

 Remembering 9/11

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Andrew Kara, a U.S. Marine Corp veteran, right, and his girlfriend, Nicky Figueredo, who lost a friend in the Sept. 11 attacks, observe the National Sept. 11 Memorial in New York on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, Sept. 11, 2011. (Michael Nagle/The New York Times) #

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Mourners gather at the edge of one of the two memorial pools of the National September 11 Memorial in the World Trade Center site in New York during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. Some people wrote notes to their deceased loved ones when they found their names engraved on the edges of the pools. (AP Photo/Aaron Showalter, Pool) #

 Remembering 9/11

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Michael Lira and his brother Kenny Lira's goddaughter Hailey Perez, 11, hold a photo of Kenny who was killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, at the National Sept. 11 Memorial in New York on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, Sept. 11, 2011. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times) #

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A mourner traces the name of a victim of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011 at the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site in New York. (AP Photo/David Handschuh, Pool) #

 Remembering 9/11

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Madhu Narula, of Kings Park, N.Y., reacts after hearing the name of her daughter, Manika Narula, pictured on shirt below, as the names of the victims of 9/11 are read during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks at the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow) #

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People pay their respects during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, outside the World Trade Center site in New York. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty) #

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A woman cries while reading her father's name, as the victims of 9/11 are remembered during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks at the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow) #

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Family members share a quiet moment at the south memorial fountain at the National Sept. 11 Memorial in New York on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, Sept. 11, 2011. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times) #

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Jackie and Sam Sapio salute during the national anthem as they raise a large American flag from the ladder of a fire truck in a parking lot overlooking the Air Force Memorial and the Pentagon on September 11, 2011 in Arlington, VA. The group raised the same flag earlier in the day in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and will raise it later in New York City. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images) #

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President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk to the crash site of Flight 93 during their visit to the Flight 93 National Memorial Sunday, Sept., 11, 2011, in Shanksville, Pa., on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) #

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Nancy Gregory, hugs her sons Carl, left, and Gregory as they pay their respects to her husband firefighter Ken Kumpel at the National September 11 Memorial during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks at World Trade Center, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) #

 Remembering 9/11

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Garrett Hauck, 5, from Ballwin, Missouri, looks up at some of the of 2,996 flags planted on Art Hill in St. Louis on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011 after a memorial service to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. "People will ask him if he wants to be a baseball player when he grows up and he says no I want to be a firefighter," said his mother Carrie Hauck, not pictured, "He practically sleeps in this outfit." (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, David Carson) #

 Remembering 9/11

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Sgt. 1st Class Keith Finkler, 43, left, of Jacksonville, Fla., and Sgt. Maj. William Moore, light a candle during a ceremony commemorating the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 U.S. terror attacks and for soldiers killed from the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Battalion 27th Infantry Regiment, in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since the attacks Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, at Forward Operating Base Bostick in Kunar province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #

 Remembering 9/11

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Three thousand flags rise out of the mist at dawn on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011 in Forest Park in St. Louis before the start of several ceremonies commemorating the 10 year anniversary of the terrorists attacks. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, J.B. Forbes) #

 Remembering 9/11

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Spc. Angel Batista, 26, left to right, of Bloomingdale, N.J., Spc. Jacob Greene, 22, of Shreveport, La., and Sgt. Joe Altmann, 26, of Marshfield, Wisc., with the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Battalion 27th Infantry Regiment based in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, sit beneath a new American flag just raised to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks Sept. 11, 2011 at Forward Operating Base Bostick in Kunar province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #

 Remembering 9/11

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Lindsey Farrell, 25, and her boyfriend Ryan Heaberlin, 30, watch the Cardinals game Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. Heaberlin is a firefighter with the Cottleville Fire Protection District in St. Charles, Missouri. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, J.B. Forbes) #

 Remembering 9/11

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U.S. soldiers attend an event to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, at the U.S. of Bagram north of Kabul, Afghanistan Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq) #

 Remembering 9/11

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People attend a mass Sunday, Sept. 11 2011, at Lisbon's 16th century Jeronimos Monastery to remember the victims of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. (AP Photo/Armando Franca) #

 Remembering 9/11

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Flower tributes to the victims of 9/11 terror attacks lay in the 9/11 Memorial Garden in London, after family members placed the flowers in memory of lost loved ones, during a ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks, Sunday Sept. 11, 2011. (AP Photo / Lewis Whyld) #

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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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