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Afghanistan: June 2012

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The number of coalition soldiers killed in Afghanistan last month stands at 39, bringing the number for the entire war to 3,071 -- roughly one death every 30 hours since the initial invasion in October 2001. The soldiers who died in June 2012, all men, ranged in age from 21 to 47, with 29 hailing from the United States, four from the UK, four from France, and one from Italy. Civilian casualties also remain high, as locals are often caught in NATO bombings and are increasingly targeted by Taliban attacks. Overall levels of violence are slowly declining. But the lengthy process of demobilization and withdrawal remains in its initial phase, and civilians, soldiers and insurgents continue to die in Afghanistan in alarming numbers. Gathered here are images of those involved in this conflict over the past month, as part of the ongoing series here on Afghanistan. [41 photos]

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A displaced Afghan boy from Helmand province peeks from a window at a camp for the displaced in Kabul, Afghanistan, on June 20, 2012. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates the number of internally displaced Afghans at nearly 500,000. (AP Photo/Ahmad Jamshid)
A displaced Afghan boy from Helmand province peeks from a window at a camp for the displaced in Kabul, Afghanistan, on June 20, 2012. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates the number of internally displaced Afghans at nearly 500,000. (AP Photo/Ahmad Jamshid)
A soldier from the U.S. Army's Alpha Company, 1-12 Infantry, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, mans a weapon during a lightning storm at Combat Outpost Pirtle-King in Afghanistan's Kunar Province, on June 8, 2012. (Reuters/Tim Wimborne) #
The crystal blue waters of lakes created by a natural dam, in Band-e-Amir National Park, stand in stark contrast to the red cliff walls and desert surroundings, on June 27, 2012. Band-e-Amir is one of only two national parks in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Ken Scar) #
A bullet-riddled map of Afghanistan, painted on a wall of an abandoned Canadian-built school in Zharay district of Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan, on June 9, 2012. (Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov) #
A U.S. Army Apache helicopter flies over Blocking Position one above Kamdesh in Afghanistan's Nuristan Province, on June 11, 2012. (Reuters/Tim Wimborne) #
A woman pulls weeds by an old Russian tank in a potato field in the Bamiyan valley, on June 16, 2012. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Ken Scar) #
NATO Black Hawk helicopters fly above the Spozhmai Hotel on Qargha Lake on the outskirts of Kabul, on June 22, 2012. Taliban militants armed with guns and rockets attacked the lakeside hotel overnight, seizing dozens of hostages including women and children. (Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images) #
Afghans hang over a barrier, hiding from militants outside the Spozhmai Hotel on Qargha Lake where security officials say Taliban insurgents killed nearly two dozen people, most of them civilians, in an attack just north of Kabul, on June, 22, 2012. Up to 300 people were inside the hotel when the attack began. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq) #
An Afghan special forces soldier reacts to wounds received during a firefight with Taliban militants at the Spozhmai Hotel on Qargha Lake, on June 22, 2012. (Qais Usyan/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Afghan policeman, right, takes photos of a dead militant's body with his cell phone at the Spozhmai Hotel on Qargha Lake, where security officials say Taliban insurgents killed nearly two dozen people, most of them civilians, in an attack on Friday, June, 22, 2012. It was the latest in a string of attacks this week that suggest the insurgent group is pushing hard with its summer offensive rather than waiting for international forces to draw down. The Taliban complained wealthy Afghans and foreigners used the hotel for "prostitution" and "wild parties" ahead of the Friday religious day holiday. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq) #
Afghans pray for victims of the militant attack at the Spozhmai hotel on Qargha Lake, where Taliban insurgents killed nearly two dozen people, most of them civilians, during a memorial ceremony north of Kabul, on June, 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq) #
An Afghan girl jumps on her skateboard in Kabul, on June 21, 2012. Hundreds of Afghan boys and girls celebrated World Skateboarding Day in Kabul. (AP Photo/Ahmad Jamshid) #
Two 500 pound bombs explode at dusk on a Taliban fighting position near Blocking Position one above Kamdesh in Afghanistan's Nuristan Province, on June 11, 2012. (Reuters/Tim Wimborne) #
A bird's nest attached to a chain hanging from a kitchen ceiling in the Afghan security forces compound in the Zharay district of Kandahar province, on June 9, 2012. (Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov) #
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kyle Niro, a scout sniper with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment (3rd Marines) Scout Sniper Platoon, places the dog tag of a fallen Marine on a battlefield cross after a memorial run at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on June 1, 2012. Marines erected the cross to honor the 116 men from the 3rd Marines who died during combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Reuters/Reece Lodder, U.S. Marine Corps) #
An Afghan girl sits with her mother at The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) registration center on the outskirts of Peshawar on June 19, 2012, as they prepare to return to their home country after fleeing civil war and Taliban rule. About 20 percent of the population in Afghanistan are refugees. Of those abroad, there are 1.7 million Afghans in Pakistan and a million in Iran. (A. Majeed/AFP/Getty Images) #
A crew chief with the 451st Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron checks the engine of an F-16 with the 157th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. (USAF/Tech. Sgt. Stephen Hudson) #
A U.S. Army paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team shows Afghan boys how to kick a soccer ball with the heel of the foot, on June 27, 2012, in Ghazni province. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Mike MacLeod) #
Members of "District Unknown", a heavy metal rock band, carry their musical instruments outside a classroom in Kabul, on June 11, 2012. Kabul's rock music school, which opened in May inside the small "Venue" restaurant in the Afghan capital, also reflects the return, although sometimes tentative, of social and individual freedoms since the end of the Taliban rule in 2001. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #
An Osama bin Laden sticker with words that read, "An important figure," on a guitar belonging to an Afghan rock musician playing in a concert at the French Culture House in Kabul, on June 24, 2012. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #
Afghan rock musicians perform during a concert at the French Culture House in Kabul, on June 24, 2012. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #
An Afghan child prepares to undergo an x-ray as a technician looks on at The French Medical Institute for Children in Kabul. According to a 2012 report by Save the Children, improved healthcare and the rise of females attending school have made Afghanistan climb up from its position as the worst place on earth to be a mother. Despite the better healthcare, some 275 children die every day in the country of 30 million. (Bay Ismoyo/AFP/Getty Images) #
Widow Nicola Castle (right) and daughter Emma Pratt hold hands at the burial service of Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 John C. Pratt, of Springfield, Virginia, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on June 21, 2012. Pratt died in a helicopter crash while serving in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) #
An Albino Afghan man poses for a portrait while waiting to procure a National Identity Card at an Afghan National Police station near the city of Mara Wara in Kunar Province, on June 25, 2012. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson) #
A paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team fires an M240B medium machine gun at insurgent forces June 15, 2012, in southern Ghazni province, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Mike MacLeod) #
U.S. Army soldiers board a Chinook helicopter at night from Forward Operating Base Bostick in Kunar Province, on June 6, 2012. (Reuters/Tim Wimborne) #
U.S. Army Sgt. Rachael Schrecengost, a member of the 67th Forward Surgical Team, performs chest compressions on an IED victim at Forward Operating Base Farah, Farah province, on June 20, 2012. (USAF/Staff Sgt. Jonathan Lovelady) #
A blood-covered M4 rifle belonging to a U.S. Army soldier wounded by an IED lies on a ground in southern Afghanistan, on June 12, 2012. (Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov) #
Staff Sgt. Vincent Benton, supply sergeant assigned to Charlie Company, 237th Brigade Support Battalion, 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, watches his daughter, Fallon, as she graduates from Northwestern High School, Albion, Pennsylvania, June 6, 2012. Benton attended the graduation via Skype and was able to share a few encouraging words with his daughter before and during the ceremony. (U.S. Army National Guard/Maj. Anthony Chenault) #
France's new president Francois Hollande pays his respects during a solemn funeral ceremony for four French soldiers killed in Afghanistan at Invalides, in Paris, on June 14, 2012. Hollande decorated each of the coffins with a starred medal on a red ribbon, honoring the four posthumously as Knights of the Legion of Honor, France's highest award. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) #
U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Dylan Ferguson, a brigade aviation element officer with the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team, launches a Puma unmanned aerial vehicle June 25, 2012, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. Ferguson uses the Puma for reconnaissance for troops on the ground. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Mike MacLeod) #
Rehana, 11 months, sleeps beneath a mosquito net on the outskirts of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, on June 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #
A soldier from the U.S. Army's Alpha Company, 1-12 Infantry, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, guards a landing zone at night at Combat Outpost Pirtle-King in Kunar Province, on June 9, 2012. (Reuters/Tim Wimborne) #
A boy lies beside a stream in Kabul, on June 12, 2012. (Reuters/Mohammad Ismail) #
An Afghan Mi-17 helicopter on a flood relief mission crashed shortly after takeoff, on June 29, 2012 in the Ish Kumish province of Afghanistan. The helicopter was moving villagers out of the zone before crashing and landing on its side. (USAF/Staff Sgt. Quinton Russ) #
Elder Razul Jan helps his son, Shera Guden, tighten a rope to hold up his pants while speaking with Lieutenant Kenneth Rowe from 4th Platoon, Dagger Company of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment during a patrol in the town of Manugay in the Pech River Valley of Afghanistan's Kunar Province June 26, 2012. Shera's eye is swollen due to a wasp sting. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson) #
A Marine carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Cpl. Taylor J. Baune at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, on Saturday, June 16, 2012. According to the Department of Defense, Baune of Andover, Minnesota, died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) #
A sandstorm blows past a blimp inside FOB Joyce in Kunar Province, on June 24, 2012. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson) #
U.S. soldiers assigned to 4th Platoon, Dog Company, 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment (Airborne), Task Force 4-25, conduct a patrol outside Combat Outpost Zormat, Paktya province, on June 14, 2012. The 4th Platoon was patrolling to disrupt enemy activity. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Kimberly Trumbull) #
Afghan children pose for a photograph beneath graffiti, with writing that reads, "freedom" in Kabul, on June 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Ahmad Nazar) #
A US Marine removes a bandolier of ammunition from his neck during a group shooting lesson for Afghanistan Uniformed Police (AUP) at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province on June 2, 2012. (Adek Berry/AFP/Getty Images) #

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