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May 31, 2010

Afghanistan, May, 2010

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, a day set aside to honor our men and women who died while in military service since the time of U.S. Civil War. In Afghanistan over 50 U.S. soldiers have been killed in just the past month, including 24-year old Marine Cpl. Jacob Leicht, who became the 1,000th serviceman killed in Afghanistan since 2002. As the fighting season begins, Taliban militants have recently mounted several bold attacks and coalition efforts to "clear, hold and build" areas in the south have been slowed during the "hold" phase, as Afghan government capacity remains small. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (42 photos total)

Monica McNeal cries as she hugs a U.S. Marine at the grave of her 19-year-old son Eric Ward, at Arlington National Cemetery, May 27, 2010. Lance Corporal Eric Ward, a fourth-generation U.S. Marine, was killed in Afghanistan on February 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Jason Reed)

Soldiers from Charles Company of the 1st Royal Canadian Regiment climb down from an observing post in Camp Masoom Ghar in Panjwa'i district, some 29 km (18 miles) southwest of Kandahar City, May 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Nikola Solic) #

An Afghan boy scurries past a burning oil tanker carrying fuel supplies for NATO forces after it was allegedly attacked by Taliban on Jalalabad highway, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, May 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #

Afghan boys take part in a wrestling training session for boys between the ages of ten and twenty years old, at the national olympic headquarters in Kabul on May 11, 2010. Afghanistan has a strong wrestling tradition, despite being ravaged by war and conflict throughout the past decade. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A US crewman sits in the cockpit of an F-18 jet fighter aboard the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier in the Arabian sea at sunset on May 24, 2010. The USS Eisenhower is on a mission to support US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan. (MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images) #

U.S. Army specialist Carlo Scott from Morgenville NJ with the 1st platoon, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 82nd Airborne Division, walks through a field by the Arghandab river during a security operation in Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan, May 11, 2010. (REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis) #

A flag-draped casket carrying U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Patrick Xavier Jr.'s body sits in a hearse as U.S. Marine pallbearers prepare to take it into the St. David's Catholic Church for a funeral service on May 29, 2010 in Davie, Florida. Patrick Xavier Jr. was killed May 18th during a "hostile incident" in the Helmand province region of Afghanistan. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #

In this photo taken May 20, 2010, U.S. Army Stryker vehicles kick up dust as they roll across a rocky road to pick up troops from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment of the 5th Stryker Brigade who were on patrol in the Shah Wali Kot district of Afghanistan's Kandahar province. The Battalion lost 22 men during its 12-month deployment which ends this summer. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) #

A Kuchi tribal girl urges a camel to hasten on its way towards their tent as the sun sets on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 23, 2010. As Afghanistan's population grows, competing claims over summer pastures, both for rainfed cultivation and for grazing of the settled communities' livestock, have created conflict over land across central and northern Afghanistan and made life more difficult for this nomadic tribe. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das) #

An Afghan teacher (center) talks with a schoolgirl in the central yard of their school, on the southeastern outskirts of Kabul, on May 13, 2010. The United Nations said it was investigating the cause of an apparent illness among Afghan schoolgirls as the president ordered steps to combat what he said could be poisoned gas attacks. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A U.S. Army soldier with the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, and part of the 82nd Airborne Division, takes cover as a Black Hawk chopper takes off from a U.S. military base in Arghandab valley, May 14, 2010. (REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis) #

Members of the Afghanistan women's national boxing team take part in a training session on May 3, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. After facing years of restrictions and oppression during the period of Taliban rule, Afghan women are again able to make use of sports clubs and private gyms and the national boxing team have sets their sights on competing at the London 2012 Olympics. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #

U.S. Army Sgt. Mark Aggers puts a knife in his mouth as he prepares to crawl into and investigate a cave found while patrolling with 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment of the 5th Stryker Brigade Sunday, May 16, 2010, in Afghanistan's Kandahar province. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) #

U.S. Army Pfc. Halliwell comes up over a rise while patrolling with 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment of the 5th Stryker Brigade Sunday, May 16, 2010, in Afghanistan's Kandahar province. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) #

A U.S. Marine from Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines checks the body of a man who was shot by the Marines after pointing his weapon at them, while the Marines were fighting the Taliban in Karez-e-Sayyidi in the outskirts of Marjah district, Helmand province, May 5, 2010. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih) #

An Italian soldier grieves for a fallen comrade, as his coffin is loaded on a plane to be flown back to Italy, at a military base in Herat, Afghanistan, Tuesday May 18, 2010. Two Italian soldiers were killed and two others were seriously injured on Monday when a bomb hit a NATO military convoy in northwestern Afghanistan. (AP Photo/ Reza Sher Mohammadi) #

US crewmen take part in a simulatition drill to face any possible accident aboard the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier in the Arabian sea on May 24, 2010, while on a mission to support coalition forces in Afghanistan. (MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Pakistani security official stands near a burning vehicle after it was attacked in Chaman in Pakistan's Balochistan province, along the Afghan border on May 19, 2010. Suspected Taliban militants set fire to the truck which was carrying supplies for Western forces in neighbouring Afghanistan, in the Pakistani border town of Chaman, no casualty was reported, police said. (REUTERS/Saeed Ali Achakzai) #

A German Bundeswehr soldier, with the 3rd platoon of the Quick reaction Force 5 (QRF), is covered with mud after firing a mortar on muddy ground in a combat outpost in Chahar Dara district in the outskirts of Kunduz, May 8, 2010. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

Two Afghan girls gather as a soldier from Camp Nathan Smith visits their village of Mirwaise Mina, some 5 km (3 miles) southwest of Kandahar City centre, May 9, 2010. (REUTERS/Nikola Solic) #

An Afghan policeman patrols a street on May 25, 2010 in Chahar Darreh, Afghanistan. (Miguel Villagran/Getty Images) #

Afghan boys, considered to be fighting age, lift up their shirts for U.S. Army soldiers to see that they are unarmed after being summoned to come forward from a tree line by a patrol from 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment of the 5th Stryker Brigade in Afghanistan's Kandahar province on May 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) #

A U.S. Marine firing party fires three volleys during a funeral service for U.S. Marine Cpl. Nicolas Paradarodriguez at Arlington Cemetery on May 27, 2010 in Arlington, Virginia. Cpl. Paradarodriguez of Stafford, Virginia was killed while supporting combat operations in the Helmut Province of Afghanistan. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images) #

Elizabeth Barolette holds an American flag given to her during a burial ceremony to honor her son U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Patrick Xavier Jr. at the South Florida National Cemetery on May 29, 2010 in Lake Worth, Florida. Patrick Xavier Jr. was killed May 18th in the Helmand province region of Afghanistan. His brother Chad Xavier and fiance Ammani Shashee are seated with his mother. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #

A U.S. soldier monitors the area after taking off with Canadian troops from Kandahar airfield, Afghanistan, Saturday, May 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #

An Afghan boy prepares to bowl a ball while playing cricket inside the ruins of a compound, which used to be home to a timber manufacturing factory in the late 80's, on the western outskirts of Kabul on May 14, 2010. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Afghan policemen keep watch at the site of a suicide blast as an aircraft flies overhead in Kabul May 29, 2010. The suicide bomber who had explosives tied on his body blew himself up in Kabul on Saturday, there were no other causalities, police said. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood) #

Afghan girls cover their faces as unseen US soldiers from 2nd Platoon Bravo Company 5/2 ID Striker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) 1-17 Infantry Batallion patrol in Shahwali Kot district in Kandahar on May 8, 2010. (TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A crucifix is pictured next to the trigger of a machine gun inside a German amoured vehicle on May 27, 2010 in Chahar Darreh, Afghanistan. (Miguel Villagran/Getty Images) #

Pakistani paramilitary soldiers remove the charred body of a blast victim beside a burning NATO supply oil tanker following a bomb explosion at the border town of Chaman on May 12, 2010. Two people were killed in Pakistan on May 12 when a bomb exploded in a tanker carrying fuel for NATO troops in neighbouring Afghanistan, a military spokesman said. (ASGHAR ACHAKZAI/AFP/Getty Images) #

A U.S. Marine from 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines pours water on his head as he and other marines rest during a patrol in Marjah district, Helmand province, May 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih) #

A U.S. Army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) robot is seen during an explosion of an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) in Mainjui village in Arghandab valley, some 10 kms (6 miles) northwest of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan May 6, 2010.(REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis) #

The chapped hands of an Afghan child, at the Sadat Ltd. Brick factory, where some children work from 8am to 5 pm daily, seen on May 14, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Child labour is common at the brick factories where the parents work as labourers, desperate to make more money enlisting their children to help doing the easy jobs. Workers can make an average of USD 200 to 300 per month. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #

Residents of a village near Kunduz walk past a soldier of the German Bundeswehr securing a road on May 25, 2010. The German contingent in Afghanistan, based mostly in the north of the unstable country, is the third largest after those of the United States and Britain. (AXEL SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images) #

Canadian PVT Adam Sheridan from Stouffville, Ontario, crosses through the HQ doors in Camp Sperwan Ghar, some 25 kilometers southwest of Kandahar City, May 18, 2010. (REUTERS/Nikola Solic) #

Ten-year old Afghan youth Agha Gul poses for a portrait at the end of his duty around a bazaar area just outside a US Marines combat outpost, in Marjah, Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, on April 11, 2010. Since the end of US Marines-led biggest offensive against the Taliban in more than nine years of war, some 50 village children between the ages of three and twelve have been taking part in a US Marines development program called The Commander's Emergency Program Response (CERP), which was set up to provide funds for necessary repairs resulting from combat activity. The program conducts large-scale civic cleaning that employs as many local inhabitants as possible. Children are designated to dig holes where rubbish which they have picked up is burned and also to take part in the building and repair of walls. US Marines pay a thousand Afghanis (USD 5) per child for a working week of four eight hour days. Many of the families of those children employed have been threatened by Taliban insurgents as Marjah has been without school since early 80's. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images) #

An Afghan hospital worker takes a weapon out of a car that belonged to a Taliban militant whose body is seen in a car after he was killed in Ghazni province May 24, 2010. Foreign and Afghan forces killed 13 Taliban in an attack involving an air strike on Monday in an area of Ghazni province, an official said. The attack was staged in response to a Taliban ambush against a convoy carrying supplies for the foreign forces, he said, adding there were no casualties from the ambush. (REUTERS/Mustafa Andalib) #

A U.S. Marine from Lima Company 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines returns fire during a shootout with Taliban fighters in Karez-e-Sayyidi, in the outskirts of Marjah district, Helmand province, May 15, 2010. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih) #

U.S. Army Spc. Christopher Sheffield, of Boise, Idaho, rests his head on the butt of his rifle while riding in a Stryker on his way to a patrol with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment of the 5th Stryker Brigade, in Kandahar province on May 20, 2010. Sheffield wears a rememberance bracelet bearing the name of his friend, Pfc. Jonathan C. Yanney, who was killed last August when he stepped on an IED while on patrol with Bravo Company in the Arghandab valley. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) #

Jonathan Leicht (left) and Jesse Leicht pose with a photo of their brother, Marine Cpl. Jacob Leicht, on Saturday, May 29, 2010, in Kerrville, Texas. Cpl. Leicht, 24, was killed while on patrol in Afghanistan on Thursday, May 27, 2010, making him the 1,000th U.S. serviceman killed in the Afghan conflict. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) #

Nicholas Barry, age 2, waves a small Canadian flag as the funeral procession bearing the body of Private Kevin McKay is brought to the Barrie Armoury May 21, 2010. McKay was killed May 13th by a roadside bomb while serving in Afghanistan. (REUTERS/Bill Sandford) #

Cpl. Justin Sexton of Grove City, Ohio says goodbye to his wife, Danielle Sexton, in the parking lot at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base in Columbus, Ohio on May 11, 2010. An Ohio Marine Reserve unit devastated by losses in Iraq in 2005 has left for its first large-scale deployment since returning from that ill-fated mission. Members of Columbus-based Lima Company are scheduled to depart from the city's Rickenbacker International Airport on Wednesday on a yearlong assignment that could include time in Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa. (AP Photo/The Columbus Dispatch, Eric Albrecht) #