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Afghanistan: October 2011

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As the war in Afghanistan passes the 10-year mark, the security outlook still looks bleak. Nevertheless, the Obama administration has just asked the Pentagon for initial recommendations for the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan in 2014 -- the first step in planning the final U.S. withdrawal. According to the Associated Press, as of yesterday, November 1, 2011, at least 1,704 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan. U.S. diplomats are now asking Afghanistan's neighbors to sign on to an ambitious plan for the future of Central Asia -- ambitiously being called the "New Silk Road" -- that would link the infrastructure of surrounding countries from Kazakhstan to India. Gathered here are images from there over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. [41 photos]

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A severely wounded US Marine hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) is carried by his comrades to a medevac helicopter of U.S. Army's Task Force Lift "Dust Off", Charlie Company 1-171 Aviation Regiment to be airlifted in Helmand province, on October 31, 2011. The Marine was hit by an IED, lost both his legs and fights for his life. (Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images)
A severely wounded US Marine hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) is carried by his comrades to a medevac helicopter of U.S. Army's Task Force Lift "Dust Off", Charlie Company 1-171 Aviation Regiment to be airlifted in Helmand province, on October 31, 2011. The Marine was hit by an IED, lost both his legs and fights for his life. (Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images)
Doves at the Kart-e Sakhi mosque in Kabul, on October 10, 2011. (Adek Berry/AFP/Getty Images) #
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Peter Jensen, a loadmaster assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, collects straps that restrained airdrop bundles in the back of a C-17 Globemaster III, September 30, 2011. Jensen and the crew of the C-17 air dropped 40 bundles to a remote outpost in Afghanistan. (Master Sgt. Jeffrey Allen/USAF) #
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Stuart Wylie of South Weber, Utah, who is with an explosive ordnance disposal unit attached to Task Force Maverick, 1st Cavalry Division, awakens after a cold, rainy night sleeping next to his mine resistant ambush protected vehicle on Combat Outpost Red Hill, on October 12, 2011. (Spc. Ken Scar/7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment) #
An Afghan man rides a horse in a public park in Kabul, Afghanistan, on October 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) #
Afghan women carry banners, one reads: "Down with the occupying forces and their supporters" during an anti-U.S. rally organized by the "Afghanistan Hambastegi" party in Kabul, Afghanistan, on October 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili) #
An Air Force officer watches as the transfer case containing the remains of Army Spc. Michael Elm, 25, of Phoenix, Arizona, moves across the tarmac in a Transfer Vehicle at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, on October 20, 2011. The Department of Defense announced that Elm died October 14 in Khowst, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) #
Transfer cases containing the remains of Army Captain Drew E. Russell (right case) and Army Spc. Ricardo Cerros Jr., sit on a loader during a prayer Monday, October 10, 2011 at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. According to the Department of Defense, Russell, 25, of Scotts, Michigan, died October 8, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with a rocket propelled grenade. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) #
In the home of Captain Drew E. Russel's parents, Jim and Patti Russell, in Scotts, Michigan, family snapshots of Drew are displayed on October 10, 2011. Captain Russell, a 25-year-old Army captain from southwestern Michigan whose boyhood maneuvers with toy soldiers were more like training than play and who was planning a military career was killed along with a comrade from Tennessee when Afghan insurgents attacked their unit with a rocket propelled grenade, his family and the military said. (AP Photo/Kalamazoo Gazette, Jonathon Gruenke) #
People visit a cemetery outside the Sakhi shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan, on October 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) #
Members of a combined Afghan and coalition security force maintain security during an operation in search of a Haqqani network facilitator in Sarobi district, Paktiya province. The facilitator provided safe havens, money and supplies to network leaders throughout the region. (Joint Combat Camera Afghanistan) #
A goat colored for identification is seen at an Afghan livestock market in Kabul, Afghanistan, on October 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) #
An Afghan policeman holds his cap as a U.S. helicopter prepares to land at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul October 29, 2011. At least four people were killed when a suicide car bomber attacked a convoy of foreign soldiers in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Saturday, officials said, with an unspecified number of NATO-led troops among other casualties. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brenda Laun (left), Forward Operating Base Smart mayor, holds an Afghan patient's hand during emergency medical treatment at Forward Operating Base Smart, Afghanistan, on October 12, 2011. PRT Zabul's medical team assists Zabul Provincial Hospital in patient treatment to prevent to loss of life, limb or eyesight. (1st Lt. Belena Marquez/Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul) #
An Afghan boy leans against a wall as he cries on the outskirts of Kabul, on October 4, 2011. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images) #
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Patrick Reynolds, Security Forces squad leader attached to Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul, fights racing water while holding onto a tow strap attached to an Afghan National Army vehicle stuck in the Lurah River in Shinkai district, Afghanistan, on October 12, 2011. Reynolds is deployed from Charlie Company, 182nd Infantry Division, Massachusetts National Guard. (Senior Airman Grovert Fuentes-Contreras/Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul) #
An Afghan rock musician performs in front of a cheering crowd during Sound Central, a one-day "stealth festival" in Kabul October 1, 2011. Sound Central, the one-day "stealth festival" that organizers hope will draw 1,000 to 2,000 young Afghans, is the first music festival the country has seen since it plunged into three decades of violence in the late 1970s. In a country where music was banned for years under the austere Taliban regime, the festival is a daring venture which has been publicized largely by word of mouth, and the date has been kept deliberately vague. Messages revealing the time and venue will go out to music fans only on the morning of the event. (Reuters/Ahmad Masood) #
A laborer carries a sack of coal to be loaded onto a truck at a coal dump site outside Kabul, on October 19, 2011. Each laborer earns $10 on an average working day. Most of them come from the northern provinces, leaving their families behind in search of fortune in the capital. (Reuters/Ahmad Masood) #
Afghan patient Parwin, 23, a mother of three children and three months pregnant, receives medical treatment by staff at the burn unit of Isteqlal hospital, after she committed self-immolation, in Kabul on October 8, 2011. Parwin covered herself in kerosene before setting fire to herself in her kitchen in Kunduz province. According to Parwin her husband who is working as daily laborer gave her very small amount of money and her brother-in-law often beat her, and once shocked her with electrical wires. In a the war-torn country where women are often oppressed, self-immolation has become a common practice to escape family problem, with cases of self-immolation growing at an alarming rate. (Adek Berry/AFP/Getty Images) #
A NATO helicopter lands on site after a suicide attack near Darul Aman palace (background) in Kabul, on October 29, 2011. At least 14 people, including foreign forces, were killed when a Taliban car bomber struck a US-run NATO convoy traveling through the Afghan capital. The attacker detonated his Toyota Sedan car at 11:20 am in the southwest of the city, and the area was now blocked by Afghan and international forces, said police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai. (Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images) #
A foreign soldier investigates the crater caused by an explosion at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, on October 29, 2011. At least four people were killed when a suicide car bomber attacked a convoy of foreign soldiers in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Saturday, officials said, with an unspecified number of NATO-led troops among other casualties. (Reuters/Mohammad Ismail) #
An Afghan day laborer works at a local brick factory on the outskirts of Kabul on October 4, 2011. Afghanistan has been the top recipient of US aid over the past ten years, with some $18.8 billion flowing from Washington to projects meant to stabilize the war-torn country and win "hearts and minds" from a stubborn insurgency. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images) #
A robot's-eye view of other robots waiting to be checked out by technicians in the Joint Robotics Repair Detachment's shop in Afghanistan's Parwan Province, on October 27. (Spc. Ken Scar/Combined Joint Task Force 1) #
An Afghan man who sells carpets displays a handmade carpet bearing the image of U.S. President Barack Obama inside his shop, in Kabul, on October 12, 2011. The shop owner said that he spent a year sewing the carpet and it is not for sale. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) #
A U.S. soldier investigates the body of a suicide bomber in Panjshir province October 15, 2011. Suicide bombers struck inside Afghanistan's fiercely anti-Taliban Panjshir valley on Saturday, the first time in a decade of war that the insurgents have managed to use their trademark tactic in the normally peaceful northern province. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #
A Mil MI-8 helicopter taxis on the runway at sunrise at Camp Bastion, Helmand province, October 23. The Russian-built MI-8 is in use in over 50 countries around the globe. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Chandler/Regional Command Southwest) #
Pallbearers carry the casket of Master Corporal Byron Greff as his wife Lindsay (center partially obscured), daughter Brielle (in stroller) and son Kellar (bottom right) look on during a repatriation ceremony at Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Trenton, Ontario, on November 1, 2011. Greff was one of 17 people killed October 29 by a suicide car bomber in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Reuters/Chris Wattie) #
Donna and Dennis Elm, left, have an emotional moment during the burial service of their son, Army Spc. Michael Elm, 25, of Phoenix, Arizona, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on October 31, 2011. The Defense Department announced that Elm died October 14 in Khowst, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) #
Both Murida (right) and Haubeda lost their legs after they stepped on land mines in Afghanistan. Today they work at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) orthopedic center in Kabul, seen on October 9, 2011. Ten years after the start of a new chapter in Afghanistan's 30-year war, Afghans remain caught in the midst of continued armed violence. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), security and health care are the biggest humanitarian problems facing the people of Afghanistan. (Adek Berry/AFP/Getty Images) #
In this Friday, October 28, 2011 photo, Meena Rahmani, 26, owner of The Strikers, the country's first bowling center, holds a bowling ball in Kabul, Afghanistan. In an Afghan capital scarred by years of war, a young Afghan woman has bet $1 million that the country could use a chance to have a bit of fun -- by bowling. Located just down the street from Kabul's glitziest mall, Meena Rahmani opened Afghanistan's first bowling alley, offering a place where Afghan men, women and families can gather, relax, bowl a few games and not be burdened by the social, religious and cultural restrictions that govern daily life in the impoverished country.(AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) #
Afghans watch a movie at the French cultural center during the first Autumn Human Rights Film Festival in Kabul, on October 6, 2011. The festival, which takes place at the tenth anniversary of the start of the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan, a time when the human rights achievements and abuses of the last decade are in sharp focus, provides a central Asian stage for directors from Afghanistan and abroad who are tackling human rights issues, and a window for the public to explore challenges many have faced themselves. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #
Mahfouz Bahbah, 12, stands on a roadside hoping to sell his balloons during sunset in Kabul, on October 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) #
A U.S. soldier keeps watch at the site of a suicide attack in Panjshir province October 15, 2011. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #
Afghan security forces keep watch near wreckage following an attack on a US-run base in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, on October 28, 2011. An Afghan interpreter was killed and eight other people wounded in a Taliban attack on a US-run base in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, NATO said October 28. Four attackers were killed in the assault on the civilian-military base housing the local provincial reconstruction team in what was the Taliban capital before the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the militia from power. (Jangrir/AFP/Getty Images) #
British singer Cheryl Cole takes part in a demonstration by 42 Commando Royal Marines conducting a compound clearance followed by a casualty evacuation via a Chinook helicopter in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, as she paid the British Troops a morale visit. (AP Photo/Ministry of Defence, Dave Hillhouse) #
A man looks on while walking by photos of Afghan former Presidents, politicians and celebrities displayed for sale on a roadside in Kabul, on October 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) #
Spc. Christopher J. McInerney, a Norfolk, Virginia, native, shows off his multiple head shots using paper zombie targets at the weapons qualification range at Forward Operating Base Lagman, Zabul province, Afghanistan, on October 14. Virginia National Guard 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team soldiers, deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, took part in the Halloween-themed training exercise. (Sgt. Francis O'Brien/116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team) #
Young Eid Mohammed, who suffers from from chronic malnutrition, lies on a bed at Indira Gandhi Children's Hospital, in Kabul, on October 27, 2011. Afghanistan, one of the world's least-developed nations in the world, has an infant mortality rate of 129 deaths per 1,000 births; Afghan children die before reaching 5 at a rate of 191 for every 1,000 births.(AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) #
Aziz Ahmad, 25, who believes he has mental problems, is chained to a wall during his 40-day incarceration at the Mia Ali Baba Shrine in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on October 11, 2011. It is believed locally that 40 days in chains and a restricted diet of bread and water at the 300-year old shrine can cure mentally ill people. Ahmad was chained by the shrine keeper at the request of his family. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #
The Qala Iktyaruddin Citadel is seen in Herat, Afghanistan, on October 17, 2011. An ancient citadel in Herat that dates back to Alexander the Great has been restored, a bright sign of progress in a country destroyed by war. The citadel, a fortress that resembles a sand castle overlooking the city, and a new museum of artifacts at the site was completed by hundreds of local craftsmen and funding and support from the U.S. and German governments and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. (AP Photo/Houshang Hashimi) #
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes the prosthetic hand of Medal of Honor award recipient U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class Leroy Petry after he introduced Obama to speak at the American Latino Heritage Forum in Washington, D.C., on October 12, 2011. SFC Petry lost his right hand tossing away a grenade to save his fellow soldiers during combat in Afghanistan. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque) #

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