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January 29, 2010

Afghanistan, January, 2010

As the surge of 30,000 U.S. troops continues to pour into Afghanistan, the Obama administration is now considering the possibility of reconciling with some of the Taliban, reintegrating the soldiers into society, as a way to find an end to this long conflict. The plan is supported by Afghan president Hamid Karzai, although discussions are still in the very early stages. A recent United Nations report found that violence in Afghanistan claimed the lives of more than 2,400 Afghan civilians in the year 2009. While this is the largest annual death toll for noncombatants since the U.S. led invasion eight years ago, the report found that the majority of deaths had been caused by Taliban attacks. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (42 photos total)

An Afghan man walks on the street as the sun sets over Delaram district in Nimroz province, southern Afghanistan on January 20, 2010. (REUTERS/Marko Djurica)

A British soldier stands in front of an Afghan vehicle, known as a "jingle truck", as he provides security outside Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Jan. 2, 2010. The soldier is assigned to B Flight, 27 Squadron, Royal Air Force Regiment, which is serving with NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan. (Tech. Sgt. Efren Lopez/U.S. Air Force) #

U.S. Airmen from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron prepare to refuel an E-3 airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft Jan.15, 2010, over Afghanistan. (Staff Sgt. Angelita Lawrence/U.S. Air Force) #

US Marines attached to 1st Battalion, 6th regiment, Charlie company relax with bomb sniffer dog "Buttom" in Huskers camp on the outskirts of Marjah in central Helmand on January 25, 2010. (CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images) #

Afghan soldiers trained by US Marines from the First Battalion, 6th regiment, thumb through an issue of People Magazine as they wait to be transferred to another camp, in Mahafiz camp in the outskirts of Marjah in central Helmand on January 23, 2010. (CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images) #

A soldier with the Afghan National Army (ANA) warms himself over a morning fire during an air assault operation with the Army 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Division on the town of Oshaky on January 18, 2010 in Oshaky, Afghanistan. Oshaky, close to the Pakistani border, is known to harbor anti-coalition fighters and to be the home village of an area Taliban leader. The air assault operation focused on gathering intelligence and conducting searches of homes in the village where it is believed that numerous attacks on coalition troops have been planned. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

An Afghan girl stands by razor wire in Kandahar City, southern Afghanistan Friday, Jan. 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) #

Shepherds herd their sheep as Dutch soldiers of Charlie Air assault patrol in Chora valley in southern Uruzgan province on January 22, 2010. The Netherlands Royal Army leads the NATO/ISAF joint task force in this southern province of Afghanistan. (DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY/AFP/Getty Images) #

U.S. soldiers play with a remote control toy car at Delaram base in Nimroz province, southern Afghanistan January 20, 2010. (REUTERS/Marko Djurica) #

A girl looks out from her doorway at an Afghan National Army soldier searching an area used recently as a firing position by Taliban militants, during a joint U.S.-Afghan patrol in the Pech Valley, Kunar province, northeastern Afghanistan, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) #

An injured Afghan National Security force member lies on the ground as his colleagues tend to him during a fierce gun battle in Helmand province, Afghanistan on Friday, January 29th, 2010. A fierce gun battle broke out between security forces and a team of Taliban fighters targeting U.N. and government buildings on Friday in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah. The fighting came nearly two weeks after a similar assault in the Afghan capital of Kabul, once again showing the ability of insurgents to penetrate heavily secured areas. (AP Photo/ Abdul Khaliq) #

U.S. Army Spc. Nick Ferrara laughs as a fellow Soldier pours fake blood over his t-shirt during a training scenario with Afghan National Police officers at the police station in the Shutol District of Panjshir Province, Afghanistan, Jan. 6, 2010. The scenario consisted of a crime scene with one death and multiple suspects. The Soldiers are assigned to the 410th Military Police Company, 720th MP Battalion, 89th MP Brigade, III Corps. (Sgt. Teddy Wade/U.S. Army) #

Afghan policemen listen to Afghan Interior Minister Mohammad Hanief Atmar during a function to honor policemen for their response to the recent Taliban assault on the center of Kabul on Monday, Jan. 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #

A charcoal seller covers his mouth with a scarf as he waits for customers in front of his shop in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Farzana Wahidy) #

Lieutenant Joe Cull, from Walworth County, and a Marine stationed with the 3rd Marine Regiment in Hawaii, touches the flag-draped coffin of fellow Marine Lance Cpl. Jacob Meinert, during memorial services at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin on Jan. 20, 2010. Meinert was killed by an explosive in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Rick Wood) #

An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier keeps watch as smoke billows from a building where clashes between Taliban-linked militants and security forces occurred in Kabul on January 18, 2010. (SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images) #

Afghan National Army soldiers celebrate over the dead body of a gunman as government forces restored control after the Taliban attack in Kabul January 18, 2010. Taliban gunmen launched a brazen assault on targets in the center of Kabul on Monday, with suicide bombers blowing themselves up at several locations and heavily armed militants fighting a pitched battle in a shopping center. (REUTERS/Omar Sobhani) #

Turkish soldiers with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), look towards the site of explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #

An Afghan boy stands near a public water pump in Kabul January 13, 2010. Nearly half way through the Afghan winter, unusually warm and dry weather is raising fears of a drought that could cause food shortages, undermine efforts to slash poppy growing and worsen security problems. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood) #

Master Warrant Officer Charlotte Hawes from Dundurn, Saskatchewan from the Canadian Army Reservists attached to Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry patrol talks with Afghan women during a meeting in Kandahar City, southern Afghanistan Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) #

In this photo taken Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010, Ricky, an explosive detector dog, is seen with Canadian soldiers from Task Force 3-09 Battle Group during operation Tazi, a village search and security operation in the Dand area of Kandahar Province, southern Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) #

A man finishes his exercise routine at a wushu club in Kabul, Afghanistan on January 4, 2010. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood) #

An Afghan widow clad in burqa waits to receive materials for making blankets during a cash for work project by humanitarian organization CARE International in Kabul January 6, 2010. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood) #

Sgt. Francisco Espinoza with a US Army Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) walks down the street on January 20, 2010 in Orgune, Afghanistan. The soldiers, from Forward Operating Base (FOB) Orgun-E in Paktika Province, went to the village to inquire about local needs and concerns. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Canadian army captain Blaise Lapointe walks between cones while attending his rehabilitation program at the Institut de Readaptation en Deficience Physique de Quebec (IRDPQ) in Quebec City January 13, 2010. Lapointe lost his part of his leg after he stepped on a landmine while he was defusing a bomb under heavy fire in Afghanistan last year. (REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger) #

A man found walking in the woods and suspected of being with the Taliban is held by members of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and US Army Soldiers with the Army 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Division during an air assault operation on the town of Oshaky on January 16, 2010 in Oshaky, Afghanistan. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

A soldier's snacks sit beside a case of bullets in a guard post at Combat Outpost (COP) Zerak on January 21, 2010 in Zerak, Afghanistan. COP Zerak, located in Paktika Province, works at disrupting and suppressing Taliban routes into Afghanistan from neighboring Pakistan. The province, which is roughly the size of Vermont, shares a restive and porous 600 kilometer border with Pakistan. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

At the end of a convoy in which he received and returned fire with his 50 calibre machine gun, U.S. Marine turret gunner Cpl. Ian Bole, of Port Royal, South Carolina, wearing a face mask with a skull design, breathes steam on a cold day inside an armored vehicle in the Pech Valley, Kunar province, northeastern Afghanistan on Thursday Jan. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) #

U.S. Army Sgt. Daniel Alonzo, of the 177th Field Artillery Regiment, 172nd Brigade, allows an Iraqi police officer to look at his M-4 carbine assault rifle at a post in Hayy, Iraq. Light-enhancing combat rifle sights made by Trijicon for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan carry an ID number on them like the one pictured above (top center): "ACOG4X32JN8:12" - which reads as "Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight, 4x32, John 8:12", referring to a Bible verse with the last six characters. That verse is "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, 'I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life'". After concerns were raised about about whether the inscriptions break a government rule that bars proselytizing by American troops, Trijicon has now announced that it will no longer imprint the verses on the sides of scopes intended for the U.S. military. (AP Photo/Staff Sgt. Rasheen A. Douglas, Defense Department) #

Ten-year-old Nahid grabs a thread while she weaves carpet in her home in Kabul, Afghanistan on Jan. 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Farzana Wahidy) #

A fruit vendor holds lemons in his hands along a busy shopping street on January 27, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Afghan boys play outside as they wait for medical treatment at the Lindenau Clinic at Forward Operating Base Price, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Jan. 21, 2010. (Tech. Sgt. Efren Lopez/U.S. Air Force) #

A guard and his dog stand inside the remains of the destroyed Darulaman Palace, or Royal Palace, January 29, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Darulaman Palace, which was first gutted by fire in 1969, was built in the 1920s under the reformist King Amanullah Khan. It has repeatedly been used by occupying militias and governments over the years of internecine fighting in Afghanistan. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

A U.S. Marine visits the Facebook website on his laptop outside his tent at Delaram base in Nimroz province, southern Afghanistan, January 18, 2010. (REUTERS/Marko Djurica) #

Afghan men wait to be searched at a checkpoint at Delaram district in Nimroz province, southern Afghanistan January 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Marko Djurica) #

A Canadian soldier (name not available) walks through a bunker at Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan Friday, Jan. 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) #

An Afghan refugee boy cries during a daily lesson on how to read verses of the Quran, taught by an Imam, not seen, at a mosque in a poor neighborhood of Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) #

An Afghan man buys plastic jugs in a market in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday, Jan. 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Farzana Wahidy) #

Taliban fighters display their weapons during a patrol in Ghazni province on January 23, 2010. Plans by Kabul to persuade Taliban members to lay down their arms would not apply to foreigners who had joined the insurgency, often for ideological reasons, US General Stanley McChrystal suggested in a NATO video posted on the web on. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

U.S. Special Forces dismount from a U. S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter while executing a pinnacle landing on a mountain peak to disrupt insurgent communications in Zabul province, Afghanistan, Jan. 21, 2010. The Black Hawk crew is assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. (Staff Sgt. Aubree Clute/U.S. Army) #

A woman reacts as hearses carrying the bodies of Lance Corporal Daniel Cooper of 3rd Battalion The Rifles and Rifleman Peter Aldridge of 4th Battalion The Rifles pass mourners along the High Street on January 29, 2010, in Wootton Basset, England. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) #

A U.S. Marine from India Company, 3rd Battalion 4th Marines, patrols at Delaram district in Nimroz province, southern Afghanistan January 17, 2010. (REUTERS/Marko Djurica) #