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

  • Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Snowy Ladybug, Shattered Lance, Mexican Smog

    Engineering fashion in Beijing, a luxury houseboat for rising seas, flooding in Paraguay, the Giro d’Italia cycling race in Italy, Buddha’s-birthday observations in Taiwan, skateboarding in Los Angeles, and much more

  • adoc-photos / Corbis via Getty

    100 Years Ago in Photos: A Look Back at 1919

    Please take a moment to look back at some of the events and sights from around the world a century ago.

  • Kevin Frayer / Getty

    Photos of Huawei’s European-Themed Campus in China

    The Ox Horn research and development campus is being developed as 12 separate “towns,” with research buildings being modeled after famous castles, palaces, and more.

  • Ye Aung Thu / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Lion Rescue, Chihuahua Run, Dinosaur Debut

    Uber protests in Los Angeles, freedom for Reuters reporters in Myanmar, Met Gala appearances in New York, Ramadan prayers in Indonesia, art among ruins on a Greek isle, missiles over Israel and Gaza, artworks displayed at the Venice Biennale, and much more