Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Afghanistan, March, 2010

In Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, American forces are pushing forward, aiming to break the Taliban's hold on the city and southern Afghanistan. The number of foreign troops under US and NATO command is set to rise to 150,000 by August, with most of the new deployment heading to the south. Meanwhile, across other parts of the country dominated by insurgents, some U.S. efforts are now aimed at rebuilding and securing mobile phone towers. Taliban forces have destroyed or crippled some 200 of Afghanistan's 6,000 towers since 2008, isolating communities they seek to control.

1. Near the Kart-e-Sakhi shrine in Kabul, an Afghan girl passes by as a helicopter flies over during the celebration of Nowruz, the start of spring and the traditional New Year celebrated in Afghanistan, Iran and other countries of central Asia, on Sunday, March 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
2. An Afghan National Army helicopter flies over people celebrating Nowruz, at the Kart-e-Sakhi shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, March 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
3. Afghan police control the crowd during the celebration of Nowruz in Kabul on March 21, 2010. Afghanistan uses the Persian calendar, which runs from the vernal equinox. The current Persian year is 1389. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood)
4. Afghan women pack the Imam Ali's shrine during their celebration of Afghan New Year in Mazar-I-Sharif, Balkh province north of Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, March 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Mustafa Najafizada)
5. A young man dances during the celebration of Nowruz, near the Kart-e-Sakhi shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, March 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
6. A man enjoys a swing during celebrations of Nowruz in Kabul on March 21, 2010. (MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images)
7. Afghans carry a man injured in an explosion in Khost, south of Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, March 21, 2010. Two other civilians died and four were wounded when a roadside bomb went off near a crowd of people celebrating the Afghan New Year at a mountaintop shrine in eastern Afghanistan, a police commander said. (AP Photo/Nishanuddin Khan)
8. The landscape of Afghanistan is photographed from an MI-17 tactical helicopter during a battlefield circulation across Southern Afghanistan, March 4, 2010. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Kenny Holston)
13. A U.S. Marine Corps V-22 Osprey aircraft takes off from Forward Operating Base Cafferata in Afghanistan March 9, 2010. (DoD photo/Cherie Cullen)
14. President Barack Obama rallies troops and military personnel during a visit to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, Sunday, March 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
15. Afghan boys watch as unseen US Marines of 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, search their farm house during a 24-hour foot operation in a poppy field area in Marjah, Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, on March 19, 2010. A total of 60 farms were searched and nothing suspected was found. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images)
19. A young Pashtun girl watch smiles as US Marines hand out trinkets in her village March 11, 2010 in a hamlet near Khan Neshin in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Marines in the area have been assigned to help gather census data for planned Afghan government in the area, and female Marines are sent out on census-gathering patrols, as men cannot enter homes as easily in conservative Pashtun culture. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
20. An Afghan woman waits in the hallway with her son to see a doctor Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at the Kandahar Regional Military Hospital near Kandahar, Afghanistan. The hospital, which services primarily Afghan National Army soldiers and Afghan National Police, opened its doors to service members' families for weekly medical care, something that many women and children in the country do not have access to. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
21. A wall displays current and previous winners of the "Nurse of the Month" awards March 18, 2010 at Kandahar Regional Military Hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The hospital is one of the premiere Afghan-run medical centers in the country, and operates in a new building built with American funds on a Afghan Army base near the NATO base of Kandahar Air Field. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
22. Afghan boys play in the old part of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, March 24, 2010. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
23. The destroyed Tajbeg Palace sits on a hilltop above Kabul, seen near the U.S. military's Camp Darulaman in Kabul province, Afghanistan on March 10, 2010. Photo taken during the Commander's Cup competition, recently held at Camp Darulaman, where four teams of four soldiers each compete against each other in events such as ruck marching, weapons assembly, land navigation, casualty treatment, aid and litter carries and preparing a military vehicle for a mission. Each team is made up of three U.S. Soldiers and one ANA soldier. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Russell Gilchrest)
24. An Afghan policeman looks at remains of an attacker who blew himself up after storming an abandoned government building in Khost, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, March 8, 2010. The attackers were the only people to die in the shootout, but one police officer and an Afghan army soldier were wounded, said provincial Gov. Taher Khan Saberi. (AP Photo)
25. An Afghan national who is a possible suspect is detained in one of the U.S. Marines compounds, in Marjah district, Helmand province, March 29, 2010. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)
28. Two Afghan National Army soldiers stand in one of the old armory rooms of the Bala Hissar, an ancient fortress overlooking Kabul March 20, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. The fortress, originally built around the 5th century AD, has housed a successive series of kings and conquerors over the centuries, and was heavily used by British forces during their ill-fated 19th century military occupations of Afghanistan. In most cities an edifice with the history of the Bala Hissar would be a popular tourist attraction; in war-torn Kabul it sits mostly ignored on a hill overlooking the city, used mostly as a communications tower and watched intermittently by a few Afghan Army soldiers. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
29. Three US Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, watch movies on their laptop under the moonlight, at the base in Marjah, Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, on March 21, 2010. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images)
30. U.S. Army Spc. Benjamin McCune, 21, calls from a hospital bed to tell his family that he was wounded on March 22, 2010 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. The 82nd Airborne soldier suffered back injuries when his armored vehicle struck an IED in Kandahar province Monday. (John Moore/Getty Images)
31. Houses cover the cityscape of Kabul, seen from the summit of the Bala Hissar, an ancient fortress overlooking Kabul March 20, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
33. Abdul Rahman, 13, is comforted by hospital staff while nurses change the dressings on his burn wounds March 18, 2010 at Kandahar Regional Military Hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Six months ago, Abdul Rahman's clothes were soaked with gasoline after a long day working in a fuel station to make extra money in rural Afghanistan, and they caught fire, burning him so badly his skin melted and his chin fused to his chest when it scarred over. Abdul Rahman's father had no money for doctors for his son and treated him at home, spreading butter on his burns every night. Several weeks ago he trekked with his son to Kandahar looking for treatment, and eventually ended up at the American-funded Afghan Army military hospital in Kandahar. Afghan medics under supervision of American Army doctor Lt. Col. Barry Steinberg separated the Abdul Rahman's chin from his chest in a series of surgeries, and while his burns need daily treatment he's expected to fully recover. "These people have been very kind," Abdul Rahman's father, Abdul Fatah, says. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
34. A US Marine of the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, washes his head in a canal in the early morning hours during a 24-hour foot operation in a poppy field area in Marjah, Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, on March 19, 2010. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images)
35. In this photo taken on Friday, March 19, 2010, a farmer works in a poppy field in Marjah, Afghanistan. When U.S., Afghan and NATO forces stormed Marjah in February, they were instructed to seize large opium stashes but leave farmers' poppy fields alone. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)
36. Afghan men and boys bathe in the hot room at a hammam on March 5, 2010 in Herat, Afghanistan. It is traditional for Afghans to visit the hammam on a Friday, the Muslim day of rest. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)
39. During a medevac flight of U.S. Army Task Force Pegasus the bloody hand of a wounded U.S. Marine is seen as he receives medical treatment shortly after take off over Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Tuesday March 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
40. Afghan vendor Golshah looks on in the Makrooyan neighborhood in the capital city of Kabul on March 2, 2010. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)
41. Afghan-born American civilian Nekqadama, known as 'Nikki', a contract interpreter for US Marines of 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, prepares to put her hair up as she arranges her equipment prior to moving to another military base in Marjah, Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, on March 21, 2010. "For the Americans, I am an American, for the Afghans, I'm an Afghan sister ," says Nekqadama, one of thousands of interpreters employed by ISAF in the war-torn country which she left, at the age of nine months, when the Soviet army invaded. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images)
42. Afghan rock band "Kabul Dreams" (myspace, play their instruments in the ruins of a castle in Kabul, Afghanistan. Kabul Dreams is made up of singer/guitarist Sulieman Qardash, bass player Siddique Ahmad and drummer Mujtaba Habibi, and they claim to be the country's first and only rock and roll group. The three speak different languages, Pashto, Dari and Uzbek, and decided to write their songs in English. The group is now working on their debut album. Photo taken on on January 14, 2010, released March 29th. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)