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May 3, 2010 Permalink

Afghanistan, April, 2010

A recent Pentagon report on the situation in Afghanistan over the past 6 months gives the impression that while things aren't necessarily getting any worse, they are far from improving. Afghan citizens, when polled, showed only limited support for their government, and a slight majority placed the blame for instability on Taliban forces. There remains a heavy reliance on international forces to provide security, training and equipment. As of March 31st, there were approximately 133,500 foreign troops on the ground in Afghanistan - 87,000 U.S. forces and 46,500 international forces. This month also saw the departure of a U.S. military presence from Afghanistan's notorious Korengal Valley, a small, isolated, patch of difficult terrain where 42 soldiers lost their lives over the past five years. NATO is calling the move a "realignment", focusing efforts on more-populated areas. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (43 photos total)

An Afghan detainee sits in the entrance to a bunker while under guard by US Marines from India Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, inside their base in Marjah, Helmand province, on April 7, 2010. A single Afghan man was arrested by US Marines near the site where a roadside bomb blew up early in the morning, with a false Pakistan passport, two different Afghan identification cards, some wires wrapped on a few batteries, an old rifle and pamphlets of Taliban activities in Marjah. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images)
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121 comments so far...

Amazing pics!Thanks.

Posted by xuan May 3, 10 12:56 PM

It breaks my heart to look at those beautiful little girls (picture #39) and know their eyes have witnessed such horrible acts of violence - so, so sad.

Posted by Shannon May 3, 10 01:02 PM

Thank you for these photos. My husband is currently deployed, and seeing these gives me an idea of what its like over there.

Posted by Kristen May 3, 10 01:05 PM

Another great series! Misspelled "California" on #40 though.

Posted by sawilhelm May 3, 10 01:05 PM

#20, what contrast!

Posted by Michael May 3, 10 01:15 PM

That warning on the box in #36 should be applied to living soldiers, too.

Posted by Alex May 3, 10 01:18 PM

I bet the gal in #28 didn't know what she was getting into when she saw the posting for a Biofuel Manager.

Posted by Jeremy May 3, 10 01:38 PM

Super ! :)

Posted by Prosens May 3, 10 01:38 PM

when will it end.....???

Posted by vim May 3, 10 01:42 PM

Love the AC in #4

Posted by Jake May 3, 10 02:23 PM

As always, The Big Picture brings us the most nicely composed photos in the world of journalism. I like too many of them to list my favorites..

Posted by Paul May 3, 10 03:20 PM

This is the strange ways of living Humanity.

Posted by amertum May 3, 10 03:22 PM

why not spreading love?

Posted by Danny de vito May 3, 10 03:31 PM

#30 is really lame who wants to see this?

Posted by Corey May 3, 10 03:33 PM

Leave these people to themselves, please ! They have suffered enough !

Posted by gaby May 3, 10 03:52 PM

Appreciate the pictures and hoping that very soon this country needs not to be in the headlines any more (meaning: the war is over). One can hope, cannot we.

Posted by Derek May 3, 10 04:04 PM

Hurts my heart and my belly to see some of these pictures. What a land of such beautiful beautiful women and children, maimed by evil unkind few.

Posted by Tiffany May 3, 10 04:05 PM

Amazing pics!

Posted by Jason May 3, 10 04:44 PM

Some great pics in this edition of BP. I have several favorites. Nice work pulling them together.


Posted by Scott Childers May 3, 10 04:45 PM

I wonder what it means??? the writing on picture # 23...

Posted by carolina. May 3, 10 04:46 PM

#35, the mint must smell so refreshing, i love her expression.

Posted by Gaurav May 3, 10 04:55 PM

what about the 43???? where the f*ck is the human rights??

Posted by renato May 3, 10 05:01 PM

Always marvellous pictures. My favourite is n.20

Posted by Andrea May 3, 10 05:31 PM

Son una fotos extramadamente interesantes que muestran lo terrible que debe ser estar en esa guerra ! Es una lástima que el mundo tenga que llegar a estos extremos.

Posted by Asdrúval Muguerza May 3, 10 06:10 PM

Big Picture is, bar none, the most moving and incredible photojournalism on the web. Incredible, Incredible pictures as always.

Posted by Jason May 3, 10 06:17 PM


Renato, what are you talking about? The photo is of a taliban insurgent detained in the field. This is war. Hes been handcuffed and blind folded, thats all. How is that a human rights issue?

Posted by bobvilla May 3, 10 06:21 PM

Once again this brings parts of the war home. You captured a mortar round in the air? That's got to be some kind of photographic coup. Burning trucks raging. Right there in the action. Barbie doll dress manufacture to emancipate Afghan's women? (They're pretty amazing by the way.) That's got to be some kind of record for mind warping irony. Or will some of Barbie's over sexed appeal rub off and seduce this culture? Hot pants in Kandahar within a decade?

In fact all these photo montages on Afghanistan stretch my ability to grasp this reality from my warm bedroom.

I do keep wondering how we can afford this and what the building debt will bring to us, while China builds its economy (and expands it navy) and the dollar loses value.

It's so difficult to overcome the guerrilla's advantage against uninvited outside forces, even if they purport to act in the service of nation building and a serious attempt is made to respect life and property. Heavy lifting indeed.

Posted by Bruce May 3, 10 07:51 PM

Picture #39 is the best. The sad part is that NOBODY want's this, but it still happends. We don't want it, they don't want it. Guess what, these little girls didn't have a chance nor a say in the matter yet they suffer.

I would adopt them in a second if I could. My heart goes out to them. Did anyone stop and think where or what they are doing this very second ?

Absolutely Horrible

Posted by Francois May 3, 10 09:19 PM

@Comment #20:

Carolina, I can't make out what the writing means, but the word in red on the left reads "allah".

And if you've noticed how the words in red have been crossed out, you can see the soldiers' prejudice against the Muslims by witnessing the manner in which the word "allah" has been crossed out.


Posted by D May 3, 10 10:07 PM

them that take the sword shall die by the sword

Posted by fakedom May 3, 10 10:08 PM

You know the AC in #4 was an ARMY COP and not a USMC one - Devil Dogs get no breaks like that hehe...

Posted by SEMPER FI May 3, 10 10:13 PM

i love the air conditioner unit in pic 4... that's how you do observation duty in style.

Posted by seb May 3, 10 10:13 PM

I bet more than half of the so-called Afghan National Army would switch sides in an instance. The Taliban put their best fighters deep cover, in plain sight. I would never turn my backs on them.

As long as we carry crucifixes and Bibles around that country, we will always be fought. There is no possibility of successful nation building there. Ever. That entire country is not worth the life of one Marine.

Posted by Carbon May 3, 10 11:28 PM

Is it me or #41 really looks like Henry VIII??

Posted by Tom May 4, 10 12:17 AM

Picture #35 is my favorite for some reason. She's a soldier in a dangerous time, but she still takes the time to "smell the mint" as it were.

Posted by Jason May 4, 10 12:56 AM

Is it just me or does the guy in #30 have a big thumbs up hand under his arm pit?

Posted by Jon May 4, 10 01:02 AM

Maybe instead of focusing on body building they should focus on building up the mind, their compassion, their intellect?

Posted by Eric May 4, 10 01:19 AM

Thanks for sharing great moments You've captured

Posted by Donciakas May 4, 10 02:04 AM

may God will help ...

Posted by 張旭 May 4, 10 04:54 AM


Posted by Humanity May 4, 10 05:06 AM

Great work, keep it up. Don't be discouraged, your just a viewer. What you are doing is important to all cultures.

Posted by Anonymous May 4, 10 06:21 AM

some of these pictures were very strange and graphic.

Posted by Anonymous May 4, 10 07:59 AM

Great pictures. I really loved looking at them. The stories are extremely sad and heart wrenching. But you did a good job showing us what it is like over in Afghanistan and how thankful we need to be. I appreciate all the stories and pictures. Thank you.

Posted by emsw271Chloe May 4, 10 08:11 AM

This is very sad!:( Im amazed by how many people probably died from this. Kids and parents lost there home from this sad incident! Its sad how people are being treated like this!

Posted by emsw271Markie May 4, 10 08:11 AM

Ironically the writing on the right of the crucifix in #23 says "Mohammed's life"!

Posted by 0blivi0n May 4, 10 08:35 AM

@comment #29
How do you know that the soldier crossed out the allah. Maybe it was done before he ever arrived there.
@ comment #22
He doesn't look like he is mistreated

People, this is war and soldiers are losing their lives. I want it to end also but while we are there I will support the troops!

Posted by john May 4, 10 08:50 AM

powerful nations should not shed of their responsibility from afghanistan

Posted by santosh singh May 4, 10 08:51 AM

#15 - those poppy fields are the major source of heavy opiate drugs like heroin and the main source of income for the most of the population.

Posted by Nicholas May 4, 10 08:58 AM

@ 30

Then I guess I will die by the sword. At 18 I took an oath to defend this country against ALL enemies foreign and domestic. I follow orders given to me and once you're on the ground it's not about some politicians or president's ideals.

Its about defending the man to your left and right. Although there are no family ties to them these men and women I fight with are closer to me than my own brothers.

Posted by justaLanceCpl May 4, 10 09:36 AM

Beautiful and dramatic pictures....

Posted by Horacio May 4, 10 09:54 AM

@Comment #37

I guess that comment goes to picture #6

Posted by Tom May 4, 10 10:26 AM

War is Terrorism.

Posted by 50 May 4, 10 10:31 AM

No 27 pretty much sums up the insanity...

Posted by Dimitrios May 4, 10 10:35 AM

The burkas whishing they were barbies is an incredible shot. What an eye for composition. Kudos on #20.

Posted by Hon Wei May 4, 10 11:16 AM

#39 .... what future for them?

Posted by Giulio Orombelli May 4, 10 11:39 AM

If so, how U.S. troops should stay there?

Posted by 大侠 May 4, 10 12:01 PM

Alan - If you can, please cover the catastrophic flooding in Nashville as soon as possible. People are dead and missing, shelters are at capacity, thousands of people have been displaced, and our water reserves are depleting. We have had very little national media coverage here in Nashville and we need people to know what is happening in our city so that we can get as much help as possible. Thank you.

Posted by HS May 4, 10 12:48 PM

Pic # 23 Says " This spot belongs to Rohullah" and the red writting says "This spot belongs to Mujibullah, Peace"

The writting is in Pashto, one of the two offical languages of Afghanistan. (Pashto & Farsi).

Posted by Shah May 4, 10 12:51 PM

May God have mercy on us all, we are a sick and twisted species!!!

Posted by Deborah Hart May 4, 10 02:18 PM

No one talk about the #43...I'm really impressed about it

Posted by sughesa May 4, 10 03:32 PM

There's something beautiful about this region, the color is harmonious, the brown of the soldiers suit, the desert, the dust, the dirty skin, the blue sky.

Posted by Rizky May 4, 10 05:09 PM

@Comment #46:

Are you kidding me? Do you actually think an Afghan would have crossed out the word "allah"?


Posted by D May 4, 10 06:05 PM

The message of this set of photos: US Army is killing civilians there ( including children and women ) in fighting for the rights of women and then pays for this some money for the damaged property.
It is awful shame that respectful countries also participate in this nonsense and so give the right to use the word "coalition".
Possibly harvesting the oil spill would be more appropriate usage of the taxpayers' money.
The comment for pic number 8 is an typical stupid army-style propaganda.

Posted by Aleksey May 4, 10 07:50 PM

Just for fuel

Posted by paperboy May 4, 10 08:39 PM

Re #12. "Brothers in Arms" is one of the most powerful anti-war songs.

Posted by IE May 4, 10 08:41 PM

This is so sad. After millions of years on earth have we learned nothing ?

An eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind.

We are brothers and sisters and we keep killing one another.

How can Christians be fighting this War when Jesus said Love your enemy ? & Love your neighbor as yourself. How can Muslims be blowing people up when Mohammad said "Do you love your creator? Love your fellow-beings first."

Posted by Offgrid May 4, 10 09:26 PM

"improvised ordinance device attack"

Let's call a bomb a bomb yes?

Posted by Craig May 4, 10 09:42 PM

Pic 41 is the best of the lot in my humble opinion.. Life goes on, no matter the circumstances. I find it very interesting, the man with the flower and the tired eyes of someone who lived too harshly.

Posted by Damian May 4, 10 10:12 PM

very nice, and I want to see pic for afghan eyeview. Because I will to know afghan thinking,felling,opinion.

Posted by Cobrazi May 4, 10 11:11 PM

I am so amazed and awe struck by the photographs! My son is on his way there now. I collected photos from his 3 deployments in Iraq which were some amazing pics but these are impressive and re-light a flame in my heart for each and every face I saw. Thank-you.

Posted by stacey May 4, 10 11:27 PM

Really brilliant pictures. Thank you!

Posted by Jaroslav Psola May 5, 10 02:12 AM

Fantastic pictures!

Posted by oscar May 5, 10 03:28 AM

I don't know why but #41 just made me happy. :)

Posted by Sussane May 5, 10 03:52 AM

Thanks for sharing the pictures. It takes me for years to digest the meaning of those pictures.

Posted by Shinichi HIRANO May 5, 10 04:31 AM

wow, great, thanks

Posted by pepazdepa May 5, 10 05:57 AM

Thanks for sharing these pics., i really appreciate the people behind these.....

Posted by pabitra May 5, 10 08:03 AM

These are amazing photos! Well done! In picture number 8 (tankers burning) it is in Logar in the south of Kabul not west of Kabul.

Posted by Khalid May 5, 10 09:08 AM

the 43 is really shocking. Why is this guy blindfolded ? I know this is war and things even worse are happening but still, I think we should not accept this lack of consideration for human dignity.

Posted by karine May 5, 10 11:37 AM

no 41 like a Fabio...

Posted by Zdzislaw May 5, 10 02:14 PM

#16, and its caption, is one of the most striking stories for me. What horrors must she have seen and lived... and by age 14?

Posted by Anonymous May 6, 10 12:09 AM

Someone said they thought #30 shouldn't be on here, but I think it's important. I think it's important to understand who these people are beyond the violence that they live within. Their sports, hobbies, food, etc. I'm glad to see them as people, not just victims of a terrible environment.

I'm surprised no one has commented on #16. This is the only image that shocked me. What was the purpose of the self immolation? Protesting or self-mutilation like there is everywhere? I can't imagine being in the position that I wanted to do that at just 16. M

Posted by Mary Eliza May 6, 10 12:53 AM

Sadly, US media does not cover this nor ensure Americans thank the thousands of brave men and women fighting for the sake of others in that hell of a country. Thank you Marines and all fighting personnel, Semper Fi, God speed...

Posted by C. Loaiza May 6, 10 06:00 PM

Que imagens!
altíssima qualidade e percepção! lindo!

Posted by Livia (Brasil) May 6, 10 09:54 PM

One word: thanks!

Posted by Marie-Josee Parent May 6, 10 10:20 PM

@ pic 26...what a handsome portrait of the Afghan National Army, in good form to continue defending their land as the proud sons of those before them, may they annihilate Pakistan and their proxy Taliban army of darkness!

Tel de we millat-e-Afghanaan!

Posted by Barekzai May 7, 10 01:37 AM

Photo numbered 16, I agree with Mary in comment 81: This needs better citation and support. From my perspective, this is a war injury or victim of war injury and not a self-induced injury. Occurring within the last three years approximately, it is possible this is being mis-portrayed..

Self-mutilation is rare for starters. It is even more rare in shoulder areas above or behind the clavicle region or on the nape (back of neck near spinal area). Most self-mutilation that occurs, does not occur around the spine, nor does it reach over the shoulder, unless it is part of a ceremony involving participation or enactments of others.

Higher incident of self-harm cases, involve stabbing or cutting the skin with a sharp object. Especially soft tissue. Self-inflicted wounds or harm are also a specific term associated with soldiers to describe non-lethal injuries inflicted in order to obtain early dismissal from combat. Early dismissal injuries commonly involve damage such as with gun shot at soft tissue.

Self-injury can also be of an accidental nature, where a party does not actually intend to hurt themselves nor draw attention to themselves. For example, person is pushed during commotion, looses balance, falls backward over bbq area or open flame and lands on their back with someone else on them. Head/neck region is damaged, or subject must squirm and roll to one side to get out. This is more accurately called an accident, as opposed to self-mutilation.

Being inside a building while it is being bombarded, does not qualify as an self-accident or self-mutilation.

I think it is possible this injury is being mis-labeled or labeled carelessly with or without improper motive.

Citation request, post with picture and send notice to email. Thank you.

Posted by Fisk May 7, 10 03:23 AM

amazing!One of the best collections I've seen!

Posted by jack sola May 7, 10 12:21 PM

I'm I the only one that sees the difference in old war pictures compared to the once we get now?
I find the the old pictures, like the Vietnam pics in here, they capture more the real essence of the war, the fright, the loss.. right in the middle of it.

Al thou these pictures are also great and I think it's great that they are taken. I find sometimes it seems "arranged", war is almost picture perfect. but war is in reality mostly ugly...

A war reporter once said on a documentary " if all people knew the smell when going trough fields of stinky decomposing bodies, there would be no more war..."

Posted by Rebell May 7, 10 05:09 PM

#43 scares me the most, reminds me what the powerful are doing with their eyes open. I wish this was the worst.

Posted by joel May 8, 10 04:16 AM

Great photography work!
Sad human reality depicted...

Posted by Noctiflex May 8, 10 04:37 AM

Some people are morons. What does a photo of a guy blindfolded and cuffed have to do with a violation of human rights? Before you start assuming things take a look at your own country. Everyday inmates are abused in our own country before they are even convicted of a crime. I'm talking beat the f*ck up. I have bared personal witness to this. Where's the justice, here, in America?

Posted by Timbo May 8, 10 05:44 AM

Es una lástima que el editor se haya olvidado de los miles de funerales de afganos... ¿no merecen una foto el dolor de quienes sufren la violencia taliban y la violencia extranjera?

así está matanza no va a acabar nunca. :(

Posted by Juan Quijano May 8, 10 08:42 AM

Horrbile, horrible, absolutely horrible what's going on in Afghanistan. America should withdraw their troops IMMEDIATELY and leave all the Afghans alone. Nobody in the world wants this.

Posted by 53 May 8, 10 06:56 PM

Nice collection of pictures. #35 and #18 stand out.

Posted by Ed May 8, 10 07:34 PM

picture # 43: "The americans want to protect the civil rights of their nation: at the expense of civil rights of the entire world"

Posted by Maqsood May 9, 10 06:37 AM

extremly breath taking

Posted by ulan May 9, 10 10:13 AM

WOW superbes photos ;-)

Posted by Biiiz May 10, 10 05:11 AM

#16 shocks, but we know it happens everywhere there's a male/female imbalance of power. Women who are allowed to live as humans with full human rights do not immolate themselves.

Posted by Mary Elizabeth May 10, 10 10:34 AM

I liked the photographs...but i m sure there will be something more bright than just we see....I hope i will see someone clicking that...

Posted by ajay singh May 10, 10 02:16 PM

Picture #21: It looks like the man is flying above Kabul instead of diving, amazing picture!

Posted by Wouter May 11, 10 10:53 AM

@ comment # 37
Maybe instead of focusing on body building they (the soldiers) should focus on building up the mind, their compassion, their intellect?

Posted by nazgol May 12, 10 05:02 PM

I'm pretty amazed about pic. #34. The armoured vehicle looks to be a Dingo 1, or whatever is left of it. They ought to be superstrong but that won't stop the locals from dismantling it in only a few days. It's a shame that the insurgents still move freely in those areas despite the effort of so many brave soldiers to bring back safety and freedom to the Afghan people. My deepest respect goes out to all personnel (whether ANA or coalition) who are doing the right thing over there.

Posted by Suy Soontjens May 13, 10 05:44 AM

Very impressive series of PHOTOGRAPHS

Posted by Eelco May 15, 10 11:05 AM

Malgré l'horreur de la guerre , il est surprenant de voir à quel point certaines photos peuvent être "poétiques"

Posted by Anonymous May 15, 10 02:29 PM

Great pictures I have served in Iraq, Baghdad, and Afghanistan in the Nanaghar Province 08-09 with the PRT. We did I great amount of work. I hope these pictures show the people of the US what the country looks like.

Posted by SGT Hafner May 15, 10 08:03 PM

I wonder what this world would be like if we invested so much time, money, sweat into each other's well-being and goodness overall instead of our differences, our own survival and greed. We're the only species to do such crazy sh*t to each other.

Posted by nancy May 16, 10 05:10 AM

#43....the prisoner is blindfolded for security reasons. Someone has to keep an eye on him until he's sent back to an area where he can be processed and then properly confined. The blindfold makes the guard's life a little bit easier.

According to the caption, he's being held prisoner by US Marines who captured him near their combat outpost. I guess the guy is scared witless. In his place, I might be too. Being captured by guys you are trying to kill must be pretty nerve-wracking.

Posted by Mark May 16, 10 12:57 PM

haha i'm glade that happen

Posted by James Frakes May 19, 10 04:01 PM

Mauricio Lima, God bless your eyes...

Posted by Mango May 20, 10 03:06 PM

Nice PhotoGraphs ...
I am sure when God created Mankind he never though of this situation ..
There is no second thought that Human are the most dangerous animal in this world .
Who are in the situation and lost loved ones are the ones who suffers doesn't matter which religion they belong to .
Awesome Photography ..

Posted by Som May 21, 10 08:26 AM

laissez le monde vivre en paix.n essayer de regler rien que vous vie suie son chemin; the war et usa n ont rien creé que la haine et la destuction.

Posted by homme terre May 23, 10 03:20 PM

god never thought of this

Posted by Anonymous May 24, 10 03:53 PM

this pictures was amazing i liked that very much

Posted by Naeem yousof May 27, 10 11:58 PM

Let me just say, the Mongols, The British Empire, The Soviet Union and now The United States of America and its allies are again trying to take over afghanistan but no one has succeeded and no one ever will. So don't think the war will be over soon. When these corrupt governments fall then will afghanistan be free!

Posted by Freedom Fighter May 29, 10 05:32 AM

I was there!
The pictures show all the truths of the afghan ground.
Who was not there are not entitled to make judgments and talk of human rights!
Soldiers trying to be nice and as long as everything goes well, in the same way, there are no problems for anyone. Once the answer is other than they expected .......

Posted by Roman May 29, 10 10:03 AM

jebite se ,Američke pičkice

Posted by dado May 31, 10 05:26 AM

paz please...
love please...

Posted by Jr. June 2, 10 02:54 PM

i m lucky for see this picture

Posted by deepak June 16, 10 02:42 AM

Love #41... so many of these Afghani men have beautiful eyes and strong faces...

Posted by MJ July 30, 10 06:06 PM

The writing on the wall on # 23 simply says "this place belongs to Muhibullah" it is obviously an attempt by a local soldier or worker to stake their claim on that spot next to the wall. The part which reads Allah is actually part of the name and so Muhib Allah is actually pronounced Muhibullah in Afghanistan.

Posted by Beelzebub November 4, 10 02:20 PM

@34, No Tom, he looks like a different version of Abraham Lincoln... beautiful man with luscious hair. I like the interesting difference in culture with the flower in his hair.

Posted by BlogShag February 10, 11 05:39 PM
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