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February 26, 2010

Afghanistan, February, 2010

In southern Afghanistan's Helmand Province, Thousands of American, Afghan and British troops entered Marja in the biggest offensive of the war, with the goal of destroying the Taliban's largest haven and restoring government presence in southern Afghanistan. Resistance was sporadic and fierce as troops seized positions around the area. Stricter combat rules and a concerted effort by the Afghan government and NATO forces were aimed at not only protecting the civilian population, but planning for the aftermath, building infrastructure, support and trust in an area long dominated by the Taliban. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (43 photos total)

U.S. Marine Sgt. Shane Hanley, a squad leader from Easy Company, 2-2 Marines, receives treatment by U.S. Army flight medic Sgt. Michael G. Patangan (left) while airborne in an army Task Force Pegasus medevac helicopter, shortly after Hanley was wounded, in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan on February 9th, 2010. Sgt. Hanley, of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, who agreed to have photos of himself published, sustained shrapnel injuries to the left side of his body, face and eye when an improvised explosive device detonated below him while he was on a foot patrol. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

A U.S. soldier checks his gear outside an outpost of the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, in the Badula Qulp area, West of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. In the background are the antennas of Strykers armored vehicle. The plastic bottles are placed on each antenna as codes to identify the platoon and single vehicles. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito) #

An Afghan farmer watches as US Marines from 1st Battalion, 6th regiment, Charlie company patrol around Huskers camp on the outskirts of Marjah in central Helmand on January 26, 2010. (CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images) #

An Afghan man works on power lines in Kabul on February 9, 2010. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood) #

A U.S. Marine from Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines fires his weapon at Taliban fighters in Marjah in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan on February 22, 2010. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic) #

During a sporadic firefight, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. and flight medic Robert B. Cowdrey, of La Junta, Colo., far left, with Task Force Pegasus, coordinates a medical evacuation mission as Marine infantrymen carry a combative and wounded Taliban fighter captured minutes earlier, according to witnesses, in Marjah, Afghanistan on Wednesday Feb. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) #

U.S. Marines guard a wounded and combative Taliban fighter, one of two captured minutes earlier during a U.S. Army Task Force Pegasus medevac mission, in Marjah, Afghanistan on Wednesday Feb. 17, 2010. The two were transported to a nearby U.S. Navy field hospital. Pegasus aeromedical crews have been attacked regularly over the past days while evacuating the wounded as U.S. and Afghan troops take part in an assault in the Taliban stronghold of Marjah. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) #

A U.S. Marine from Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines kneels next to the body of a killed Taliban fighter in the town of Marjah in Nad Ali district of Helmand province February 18, 2010. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic) #

A photo album found in a compound in which the U.S. Marines from 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment took shelter for the night in Marjah in Afghanistan's Helmand province on Saturday Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

U.S. Marines from Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines look for a Taliban sniper from inside a cotton workshop in Marjah, Helmand province, February 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic) #

A general view of Kabul, Afghanistan on January 31, 2010. (REUTERS/Marko Djurica) #

A man passes a vendor displaying Bollywood videos for sale in the old city February 1, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Despite years of foreign involvement and the money being committed to Afghanistan from both private and governmental donors, Afghanistan is still plagued by chronic unemployment and neglected public services. Unemployment in the country of some 25 million people is still 40 per cent with more than half the population living below the poverty line. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Afghan soldiers and security men carry away the bloody body of an unidentified man from the scene of an explosion and a gunbattle in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Feb. 26, 2010. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #

A man collects oranges during a night at a market in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #

Young men throw snowballs as they stand on the diving board of an abandoned swimming pool on a hill in Kabul February 8, 2010. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood) #

Sahil, an Afghan boy, laughs after he slipped on snow outside his house on a hilltop in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Feb. 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #

Clouds loom large as Afghan people shop at a market in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Feb. 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #

Capt. Lena Angell, from Wainwright, Alberta, Canada, part of Canada's Task Force 3-09 Battle Group stands silhouetted at the start of operation Tazi, a village search and security operation in the Dand area of Kandahar Province, southern Afghanistan on January 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) #

A U.S. Predator drone flies over the moon above Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010. The Pakistani army said Sunday that it was investigating reports that Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud died from injuries sustained in a U.S. drone missile strike in mid-January. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) #

A U.S. Marine from 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment walks through a farm compound where his company stopped to rest for the night in Marjah in Afghanistan's Helmand province on Wednesday Feb. 24, 2010. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

U.S. Army flight medic Staff Sgt. Robert B. Cowdrey, of La Junta, Colo., right, with Charlie Company, All American Dustoff, evacuates a U.S. Marine wounded in a rocket-propelled grenade attack, in Marjah, Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Saturday Feb. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) #

Private Aziz Watandosd, 22, of 2nd Company 1st Battalion, 201st Corp of the Afghan National Army climbs a crane to remove the Taliban's white flag before raising the Afghan national flag in the former Taliban stronghold of central Showal February 15, 2010. The area was secured by British ISAF and Afghan forces. (REUTERS/Julian Simmonds) #

U.S. soldiers kneel during a memorial ceremony for Captain Daniel Whitten and Private First Class Zachary Lovejoy from Charlie Company, 4th Brigade combat team,1-508, 82nd Parachute Infantry Regiment at the Remote Sweeney FOB in Zabul province, southern Afghanistan on February 8, 2010. CPT Whitten from Grimes, Iowa, and PFC Lovejoy from Albuquerque, New Mexico, were killed by an IED on February 2. when on patrol in southern Afghanistan. (REUTERS/Baz Ratner) #

Treo, an eight-year-old black Labrador from the Military Working Dogs, was presented with Britain's Dickin medal, awarded for bravery and commitment in wartime, the highest military honor an animal can expect at the Imperial War Museum in London on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010. Treo was decorated for his work sniffing out explosives in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Sang Tan) #

Photographed through the plexiglass window of a U.S. Army Task Force Pegasus medevac helicopter rescuing two Marine casualties, U.S. Marine armored vehicles roll through a rubble-strewn battlefield in Marjah, Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Monday Feb. 15, 2010. Thousands of US and Afghan troops are attempting to gain control over the Taliban stronghold of Marjah, encountering sniper fire, home-made bombs, booby traps, and minefields. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) #

Mourners look on as the hearses carrying the coffins of five British soldiers are driven through the streets of Wootton Bassett, in southern England February 18, 2010. Lance Sergeant Dave Greenhalgh, L/Cpl Darren Hicks, Kingsman Sean Dawson, Rifleman Mark Marshall and Sapper Guy Mellors were killed in separate incidents in Afghanistan's Helmand province earlier in February. (REUTERS/Kieran Doherty) #

A U.S. Marine with NATO forces stands guard as a boy walks in Marjah, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #

A crowd gathers to view the contest in a display of traditional entertainment, as live animals are pitted against each other in Kabul, Afghanistan on Friday, Feb. 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq) #

The coffins of two Swedish soldiers, Captain Johan Palmlov and Lieutenant Gunnar Andersson are unloaded from a Swedish Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft on arrival at Arna airport in Uppsala, Sweden on February 10, 2010. The two Swedish army officers and an Afghan interpreter were killed on February 7, 2010 when a patrol came under attack in northern Afghanistan. The attack increased the number of Swedish soldiers killed in Afghanistan to four since Stockholm first sent troops into the country in 2001. (ANDERS WIKLUND/SCANPIX/AFP/Getty Images) #

U.S. Marines from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, protect an Afghan man and his child after Taliban fighters opened fire in the town of Marjah, in Nad Ali district, Helmand province, February 13, 2010. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic) #

A man prepares to smoke heroin in the destroyed former Russian Cultural Center, a notorious drug den on February 02, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. As poppy production in Afghanistan is still high, opium and heroin are cheap and easily available. As a result, drug addiction is a growing problem in Afghanistan with a United Nations survey recently showing over 900,000 people in Afghanistan are considered drug addicts. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Blood seeps into the ground near the site of a suicide attack on a small group of tribal elders and government workers in Khogyani district near Jalalabad, Nangarhar province east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Feb. 22, 2010. Police say a suicide bomber killed 15 people in eastern Afghanistan, including a key tribal leader who played a major role in the failed attempt to capture Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora in 2001. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #

U.S. Marines patrol outside Marjah in Afghanistan's Helmand province on Thursday Feb. 11, 2010. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

An Afghan girl peers out of her house in a village west of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito) #

"GOD" is written on the helmet of a Marine with 1/3 Charlie company patroling a poppy field in Trikh Nawar on the northeastern outskirts of Marjah on February 23, 2010. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

US Marines with 1/3 Charlie Company treat a comrade as they wait for a MEDEVAC helicopter, after their MRAP vehicle was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Trikh Nawar on the north-eastern outskirts of Marjah late February 23, 2010. Three Improvised Explosive Devices exploded injured three US marines as Charlie Company was clearing a four kilometre stretch of road from Lashkar Gah to Marjah. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

Janet Baker, the mother of slain Canadian soldier Corporal Joshua Caleb Baker, and family members watch as military pallbearers carry his casket to a waiting hearse during a repatriation ceremony at Canadian Forces Base Trenton February 15, 2010. Corporal Baker of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment was killed and four others were injured in a training accident on a range northeast of Kandahar City, Afghanistan on February 12. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese) #

U.S. Marine 1st SGT Ambroga Carson from 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment patrols in Marjah in Afghanistan's Helmand province on Wednesday Feb. 24, 2010. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

U.S. Army Private First Class Danny Comley of Camdenton Missouri, assigned to Delta Company 4th Brigade combat team,2-508, 82nd parachute infantry Regiment, receives flowers from an Afghan girl during a patrol in the Arghandab valley in Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan February 24, 2010. (REUTERS/Baz Ratner) #

A military helicopter is seen through razor wire as it comes in to land at Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) #

A soldier reacts with tears on his eyes during a funeral of a Spanish soldier John Felipe Romero Meneses in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010. Romero Meneses, 21, who was born in Colombia, was killed and six others were wounded on Monday when a landmine exploded near their vehicle in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez) #

A U.S. Marine from Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines takes a break during an operation in the town of Marjah, in Nad Ali district of Helmand province February 16, 2010. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic) #

An elderly Afghan man sits outside his farm house as a bird flies nearby in Marjah, in Afghanistan's Helmand province on Thursday Feb. 25, 2010. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #