Afghanistan, February 2011

Earlier this month, the U.S. military began a withdrawal from the Pech Valley in eastern Afghanistan, a narrow canyon where U.S. forces have been battling insurgents for the past 8 years. American officials say the reason for the withdrawal is to be able to refocus its efforts on providing security to the Afghan capital, Kabul. More than 100 American soldiers have died in the Pech Valley since 2003. Across Afghanistan, 34 NATO personnel were killed this month, bringing the total to 60 deaths so far this year. Civilian casualties have been much higher than usual recently, as both insurgent attacks and NATO raids have reportedly killed scores of Afghan citizens across the country. As NATO forces prepare for warmer weather and anticipate more fighting, President Hamid Karzai now claims to be in talks with the United States about the possible establishment of permanent U.S. military bases in his country. Collected here are images of Afghanistan and the continued conflict there during the month of February.

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