A Replica of Afghanistan in the Mojave

Afghanistan can be found just 120 miles northeast of Los Angeles, California -- well, an approximation of Afghanistan at least. In the Mojave Desert, the U.S. Army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin is home to several mock villages built to create realistic training environments for troops due to be deployed overseas. Two of the largest "villages" have been used to represent several fictional towns in Iraq and Afghanistan, with names such as Medina Wasl, Ertebat Shar, Razish, and Medina Jabal. Units undergo training scenarios, exposing them to a realistic version of their "worst day ever," surrounded by military and civilian actors portraying Afghan locals, police, and insurgents. Simulations include the detonation of IEDs, rocket attacks, suicide bombings, as well as practice with crowd control, interaction with locals, and providing aid. The mock combat includes exposure to realistic horrific injuries, with real-life amputees portraying victims who have had limbs blown off, complete with gory prosthetics and fake blood. The photos here show a few of these villages during several different training missions over the past few years.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Marco Longari / AFP / Getty

    Afriski: Lesotho's Only Ski Resort

    High in the Mountains of Lesotho, sits Afriski, one of only two ski resorts in southern Africa.

  • Ilya Naymushin / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Atomic Art, Moon Pool, Giant Iceberg

    The Royal Air Force celebrates its centennial in London, World Cup emotions run high, the Running of the Bulls begins in Spain, Tour de France riders pass through stage six, and much more.

  • Kyodo / Reuters

    Photos: Death Toll Reaches 200 in Devastating Japan Floods

    Over the weekend, sustained heavy rainfall hit parts of western and central Japan, causing flash flooding, setting off landslides, and submerging floodplains.

  • Giuseppe Bellini / Getty

    Colors Bloom Across the Great Plain of Castelluccio, Italy

    Fields of lentils and poppies carpet this Italian landscape with a colorful quilt of blossoming flowers every year.