One Year To Advance 12 Miles

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A gripping - and often distressing - report from the frontlines of the war with record fatalities after a decade:

More here. Money quote from reporter Sean Smith's diary:

20/06/2010 I'm in Dand district, near Kandahar city. I'm with the US army and we're supposed to go out at 8am to talk to locals, to do the hearts-and-minds stuff. The problem is that the Afghan national army who are with us don't speak Pashtun; they only speak Dari. So the Americans end up doing all the talking through a translator – which is missing the point of what we are supposed to be doing. The American medic passes out in the heat and is sick twice. It's over 50C.

22.06.2010 Road-opening ceremony. It was in one of the little villages where they are paying Afghans to build roads. We drive off the tarmac in case of IEDs. When we get there, there are lots of young men standing around with brand-new blades and picks, paid for by the Americans. They have clearly never been used. There's no new road. The governor has even come down from Kabul to make a speech. We only stay 15 minutes because the whole thing is rubbish. The lieutenant colonel is very angry.

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