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December 30, 2009

Afghanistan, December, 2009

The first waves of President Obama's announced "surge" of up to 30,000 more U.S. troops made their way to Afghanistan this month. The troops will be joined by a smaller but important "civilian surge", bumping the number of U.S. civilians serving one-year tours in Afghanistan up from the current level of 1,000 to 1,300 within the next six months. The civilians will be tasked with helping to strengthen and rebuild much Afghanistan's society, with projects planned in finance, agriculture, health care and much more. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (43 photos total)

Afghans ride a motorcycle past United States Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines "Warlords", not seen, during an operation to hunt for insurgents following an exchange of fire in the Garmsir district of the volatile Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

Marine LCpl. James Harris of Michigan from the 2nd Battalion 2nd Marines "Warlords" guards a position as sheep pass by during a meeting of the Marines, local government officials, and villagers in the Garmsir district of Helmand province, Afghanistan on Monday, Dec. 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #

A German Bundeswehr soldier of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is silhouetted after a service for the fourth week of advent inside their camp in Kunduz, Afghanistan on December 20, 2009. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

United States Marines from the 2nd Battalion 2nd Marines "Warlords" and Afghan National Army soldiers walk in formation during an operation in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #

A dog barks at a United States Marine from the 2nd Battalion 2nd Marines "Warlords" during an operation in the Garmsir district, southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #

A young girl stands in front of a mud home in the village of Tarale, in the Pech river valley, Kunar province, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills) #

An Afghan man carries his son, whose body is rigid from tetanus, to a MEDEVAC helicopter behind flight medic Sgt. Aaron Burrows of Amarillo, Texas with C Company Dustoff 3rd Battalion of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade 82nd Airborne Division on December 17, 2009 near Delhi, Afghanistan. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

An Afghan man comforts his son after he was brought into Alpha Surgical Company field trauma hospital for treatment of tetanus at Camp Dwyer by a MEDEVAC helicopter December 17, 2009 near Delhi, Afghanistan. The hospital is tasked with treating sick and wounded coalition forces and local nationals in Helmand Province. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

A woman buys slips at a shop in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini) #

U.S. Army chaplain Father Carl Subler from Versailles, Ohio holds a Catholic mass on a helicopter landing pad as soldiers wait to catch a flight late on a cold evening at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Wolverine on December 12, 2009 near Qalat, Afghanistan. Most the soldiers on the landing pad were infantry soldiers with 4th Battalion 5th Stryker Brigade waiting to return home for a two-week leave which they are required to take during their yearlong deployment to Afghanistan. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

Victoria Chant weeps as the coffin of her father, British soldier Darren Chant, is carried out of the Guard's Chapel following his funeral in London December 1, 2009. Warrant Officer Chant, Regimental Sergeant Major, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, was killed on duty in Afghanistan on November 3. (REUTERS/Toby Melville) #

An Afghan man sits on a hill next to the waxing moon in Kabul December 30, 2009. When the moon becomes full tomorrow, December 31st, it will be the second full moon of December, known as a "blue moon". The next blue moon will occur on August 31, 2012. (REUTERS/Marko Djurica) #

A young boy runs after an apparent suicide car bomb was detonated in front of the Heetal Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009. The midmorning attack in Kabul's congested Wazir Akbar Khan district near the home of former Afghan Vice President Ahmad Zia Massoud in Kabul killed eight people and wounded 40 others. Neither Massoud nor any of the hotel guests were among the dead or wounded. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills) #

A victim is helped away from the site of a bomb blast in Kabul December 15, 2009. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood) #

A U.S. Marine with the 2nd Battalion 2nd Marines of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, uses a metal detector beside a baby crib while performing house to house searches in the Garmsir district of Helmand Province December 17, 2009. (REUTERS/Adrees Latif) #

A man protects his trousers from mud in a market at the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini) #

An Afghan villager peeks into the barrel of a weapon while a U.S. Army soldier from Task Force Denali Battle team 1-40 CAV patrols at Shembawut village in Khowst province, Afghanistan on December 14, 2009. (REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra) #

An unidentified United States Marine from the 4th Light Armored Recon holds a puppy as he stands near the razor-wire of their base in Khan Nashin, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #

An honor guard carries the casket of Lieutenant Andrew R. Nuttall to a waiting hearse at Canadian Forces Base Trenton December 28, 2009. Lieutenant Nuttall died when an improvised explosive device detonated while he was on foot patrol southwest of Kandahar city in Afghanistan on December 23, 2009. (REUTERS/Fred Thornhill) #

Men wait for the distribution of food by German humanitarian organization "KinderBerg International" to Afghan local residents in downtown Kunduz December 19, 2009. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

A United States Army soldier runs with the ball as United States Marines from the 2nd MEB, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion try to tackle him in a game of mud football following a rainstorm at their base in Khan Neshin, Afghanistan on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #

The wreckage of a NATO helicopter is seen in Ghazni province, Afghanistan on December 3, 2009. The helicopter made a "hard landing" southwest of the capital Kabul on Thursday, but no one was hurt, a spokesman said. (REUTERS/Mustafa Andalib) #

Afghan children wait in line to enter the skateboarding park in Kabul December 29, 2009. "Skateistan", Afghanistan's first skateboarding park and school recently opened in Kabul with a skateboarding showdown among dozens of youngsters ranging from ministers' children to street kids, hoping that it will promote social cohesion and keep children out of the streets. (REUTERS/ Marko Djurica) #

A US Marine poses for a portrait for People Magazine, December 15, 2009, shortly before he leaves for deployment to Afghanistan. About 200 Marines from the 1st Battalion, 6th Regiment departed early on Wednesday morning - part of the first wave of US President Barack Obama's surge of 30,000 troops designed to shift the balance against Taliban insurgents. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images) #

A U.S army soldier from Task Force Denali 1-40 CAV holds a bible during Christian worship service at Clarck FOB in Khowst province, Afghanistan, December 13, 2009. (REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra) #

Afghan children watch soldiers from first Batallion, 32nd infantry Regiment 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain division patrolling at Shigal village in Kunar province eastern Afghanistan on December 7, 2009. A convoy heading to the village to talk elders and they came under attack from small arm fire and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG). (TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Afghan horsemen play "Buzkashi" December 4, 2009 in the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan. Buzkashi, which translates as "goat grabbing", is the national sport of Afghanistan. The object of the game is to try to snatch the goat carcass in the field and carry it to the scoring area. The fiercely contested sport can sometimes last several days. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #

United States Marine Cpl. Aleksander Aleksandrov, of Maryland, from the 2nd MEB, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion shaves at a base in Khan Neshin, in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan on Friday, Dec. 11, 2009. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #

A soldier of the Afghan National Army stands in the snow at FOB Wilderness in Paktya province, Afghanistan, December 9, 2009. (REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra) #

A soldier with the Afghan National Army, keeps a picture of Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor taped to his rifle at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Rushmore on November 28, 2009 near Sharan, Afghanistan. Only a small number of Afghan soldiers remained at the FOB, which is shared by U.S. Soldiers and Afghan National Security Forces, most had travelled home to be with their families for the three-day Eid al-Adha holiday. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

A soldier watches TV at the dining hall recently decorated for Christmas at Command Outpost Michigan near the village of Kandigal, in the Pech river valley, Kunar province, Afghanistan on Monday Dec. 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills) #

Pfc. Harold Dufour of the 2nd Battalion 12th Infantry runs towards a firing position as incoming fire hits inside the Command Outpost Michigan at the Pech River Valley in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills) #

Afghan women kiss Shiite religious flags during Ashoura in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009, as the Shiite Muslims commemorate the seventh century death of Imam Hussein, grandson of the prophet Muhammad, during the Battle of Karbala in Iraq. (AP Photo/Farzana Wahidy) #

Afghan Shiites flagellate themselves during Ashoura in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009, as a way of publicly demonstrating their grief and commemorating the sacrifice of Imam Hussein, grandson of the prophet Muhammad, killed over 1,300 years ago in the Battle of Karbala. (AP Photo/Farzana Wahidy) #

An Afghan policewoman takes pictures during a graduation ceremony after eight weeks of training at a police academy in Kabul, Afghanistan on December 17, 2009. Only about 500 Afghan women work as active duty officers, compared with about 92,500 policemen, most of them in relatively safe areas like Kabul and northern Herat province, according to Interior Ministry figures. The government has a target of 5,000 women serving as officers or civilian police workers by 2014. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic) #

Soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also called "The Old Guard," conduct military honors during the burial ceremony for U.S. Army Specialist Gary Gooch at Arlington National Cemetery December 10, 2009 in Arlington, Virginia. Gooch, 22, of Ocala, Florida, was killed November 5 when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) #

Afghan boys play with a toy gun in a street in Kabul December 28, 2009. (REUTERS/ Marko Djurica) #

Afghan men hold a fighting dog on a long leash as it prepares for the weekly dog fights on December 11, 2009 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Dogfighting is facing a resurgence after it had been banned under the Taliban for being un-Islamic. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #

A child watches as a landmine victim gazes into a mirror at the International Red Cross Orthopedic (ICRC) rehabilitation center on December 10, 2009 in Kabul, Afghanistan. The ICRC rehabilitation center works to educate and rehabilitate landmine victims and those with limb related deformities back into society and employment. The UN mine information network estimates there are approximately 62 people killed or injured by mines each month in the country. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #

People chant anti-American slogans and burn an effigy of U.S. President Barack Obama in Jalalabad, south Afghanistan, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009 during a protest against the recent killings of 10 civilians allegedly by the coalition forces in Kunar province. The head of a presidential delegation investigating the deaths of 10 people in eastern Afghanistan concluded Wednesday that civilians, including schoolchildren, were killed in an attack involving foreign troops, disputing NATO reports that the dead were insurgents. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #

An Afghan police trainee from the United States Marine police mentoring program eats a lollipop as Marines search a house that was thought to have explosives during a joint patrol in Khan Neshin, in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan on December 8th, 2009. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #

A United States Marine from the 2nd Battalion 2nd Marines "Warlords" tries to keep warm after waking up on a cold morning during an operation in the Garmsir district of Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Friday, Dec. 18, 2009. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #

An Afghan child looks from a doorway as the shadow of a United States Marine from the 2nd Battalion 2nd Marines is seen on the wall during an operation in Garmsir district, southern Afghanistan on Friday, Dec. 18, 2009. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #