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September 29, 2010

Afghanistan, September, 2010

This month, Afghanistan held parliamentary elections with nearly 2,500 candidates for 249 seats. Turnout was very light under threat of violence from the Taliban, and accusations of fraud are widespread. Afghan President Karzai announced the formation of a 70-member peace council, a step towards formal discussions with the Taliban. And American and Afghan troops have now begun active combat in an offensive to drive the Taliban out of their strongholds surrounding the city of Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban. With 51 more coalition troops killed this month, the total number of deaths for coalition troops in 2010 reached 541 compared with 521 for all of 2009. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (47 photos total)

An Italian soldier of NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) stands guard as an Afghan boy aims a toy pistol inside Herat's prison, in western Afghanistan on September 14, 2010. (REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi)

An Afghan woman looks on as French soldiers from the 126 Infantry Regiment (RI) "The Bisons" based at Rocco Combat Outpost take part in Operation "Glued Finger 2" in the village of Dwakoleh in Surobi District on September 21, 2010. Most of France's 3,500 soldiers inside Afghanistan are based in districts around Kabul. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

A U.S. Air Force F-15 Strike Eagle aircraft is refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft while both planes fly over Afghanistan on Sept. 8, 2010. (Staff Sgt. Eric Harris/U.S. Air Force) #

Afghans ride their bicycles on a dusty road in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday Sept. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/ Gemunu Amarasinghe) #

Afghans shout anti-U.S. slogans as they burn tires and block a highway during a protest in reaction to a small American church's plan to burn copies of the Quran, at Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan on Friday, Sept. 10, 2010. Religious and political leaders across the Muslim world welcomed a decision by the church to suspend its plans to torch copies of their holy book but some said that the damage had already been done. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #

An election officer waits in front of the ballot box at a polling station in Kabul September 18, 2010. Afghanistan braced itself for a day of violence on Saturday as voters headed to the polls for a parliamentary election that is a crucial test of government credibility and the strength of its security forces. (REUTERS/Andrew Biraj) #

Maliha Ahmadzia, a 25 year-old law and political science student at Mawlana University in Balkh province, who is running for parliament poses for a photo a day before the parliamentary election September 17, 2010 in Mazar-e-sharif, Afghanistan. About 2,500 candidates vied for the 249 seats in Afghanistan's Wolesi Jirga, or lower house of parliament. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #

Afghan soldiers keep watch as the moon rises over a ridge during operation Spear Tackle 2 in Surobi district on September 26, 2010. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

A French soldier from the 1st Regiment Marines Infantry (RIMA) fires an anti-tank grenade from an assault rifle FAMAS during a training session at the Forward Operating Base Tora in Surobi district on September 24, 2010. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

A paramilitary soldier holds a gas mask next to a U.S. flag that security forces say were stolen from NATO containers as they are showcased to the media at a military compound in the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan on September 27, 2010. Security forces, assisted by the Khyber Khasadar Force, raided warehouses and a private house in Jamrud, tribal region on Friday and seized huge quantity of goods believed to be stolen from NATO containers that were to be transported to the NATO forces in Afghanistan. (REUTERS/K. Parvez) #

An elderly man is lit by the fading sun at the end of the day at a tea shop in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das) #

During a U.S. Army Task Force Shadow helicopter rescue mission, a boy with shrapnel wounds on his face and body from an IED explosion is rushed to a field hospital, airborne over southern Afghanistan, Sunday, Sept. 5, 2010. The explosive, which also tore off both an Afghan man's legs, was planted to kill or maim Marines and Afghan soldiers on foot, who responded and applied first aid, and called in the rescue unit from the 101st Airborne's TF Destiny. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) #

White pigeons fly at the shrine of Hazrat Ali, unseen, in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh province, Afghanistan on Friday, Sept. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi) #

Afghan boys scramble to get balloons released at an International Peace Day ceremony in Kabul on September 21, 2010. (MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images) #

Afghan workers eat dinner inside a container at COP (Combat Outpost) 42 in Surobi district late on September 24, 2010. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

From left to right, Army Specialist Adam Winfield, Specialist Michael Wagnon, Specialist Jeremy Morlock and Private 1st Class Andrew Holmes are pictured in undated handout photos. These four soldiers and others are charged with premeditated murder in the deaths of three Afghan civilians, assaulting a fellow soldier and "wrongfully photographing and possessing visual images of human casualties". These four are among a dozen infantrymen of the 5th Stryker Brigade, based in Washington state, who are charged in the case stemming from their deployment in Afghanistan's Kandahar province. (REUTERS/U.S. Army) #

An Afghan family walks at Maranjan hill overlooking Kabul on September 19, 2010. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

U.S. Army flight medic SGT Tyrone Jordan of Charlotte, North Carolina attached to Dustoff Task Force Shadow of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade carries Marine LCpl. David Hawkins of Parker, Colorado to a Medevac helicopter after he was wounded by a blast from an IED on September 24, 2010 near Marja, Afghanistan. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

U.S. Navy Corpsman HN Ikaika McCallum of Kaneohe, Hawaii nurses a bullet wound to his face aboard a Medevac helicopter September 19, 2010 near Marja, Afghanistan. The bullet tore across McCallum's lip and exited through his cheek without doing any major damage. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

A piece of shrapnel rests on a blood-soaked notebook recovered from a U.S. Marine at the U.S. Army's 31st Combat Support Hospital at camp Dwyer on September 23, 2010 near Marja, Afghanistan. The Marine received multiple cuts and a fractured arm after stepping on an IED while on patrol. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

The medical team at the 31st Combat Support Hospital works on a wounded Marine at Camp Dwyer September 24, 2010 near Marja, Afghanistan. The Marine was wounded by an improvised explosive device while on patrol. The 31st CSH is responsible for treating wounded Afghani and Coalition forces as well as local nationals in the Marja region of Helmand, Province in southern Afghanistan. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

Afghan villagers bury seven of their people after NATO forces launched an attack in the village of Khogyani, in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010. NATO claims that they killed seven insurgents while targeting a Taliban commander. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #

An internally-displaced Afghan youth on the grounds of an abandoned Soviet occupation-era factory of Jangalak in Kabul on September 24, 2010. (MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Canadian soldier with the 1st RCR Battle Group, The Royal Canadian Regiment, chases a chicken seconds before he and his unit were attacked by grenades shot over the wall during a patrol in Salavat, southwest of Kandahar, Afghanistan on Sept. 11, 2010. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #

An Afghan policeman at the local police headquarter on September 28, 2010 in Balkh, Afghanistan. (Miguel Villagran/Getty Images) #

U.S. Marines help as a young girl is carried by her father to a Medevac helicopter September 18, 2010 near Marja, Afghanistan. The girl suffered wounds to her face and legs after being struck by shrapnel from an RPG that was fired at Marines patrolling in her village. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

A US army soldier with the 101st Airborne Division Alpha Battery 1-320th fires an AT-4 as Combat Outpost Nolen on the outskirts of the village of Jellawar in the Arghandab Valley came under Taliban attack on September 11, 2010. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

Director Sonia Nassery Cole speaks to the media during the premiere of her film "Black Tulip" at the Ariana cinema in Kabul September 23, 2010. "Black Tulip", Afghanistan's contender for the Oscars, premiered on Thursday at the cinema which was once the site of pitched gunbattles, but its director wants viewers to see past the violence to the richness of Afghan culture and traditions. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood) #

A French soldier from the 35 Infantry Regiment (RI) sits in an armored vehicle during Operation Spear Tackle 2 in Surobi district on September 27, 2010. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

Veronica Adkinson (left), widow of Army Ranger Staff Sgt. Vinson Adkinson III, Vinson Adkinson Jr. (center), his father, and Robin Dale (right), watch as his casket is carried out of Ray of Hope Church in Comanche, Oklahoma on Monday, Sept. 13, 2010. Adkinson, 26, was killed in the line of duty on Aug. 31, 2010 in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) #

U.S. Army Pfc. Andrew L. Hefner of Conover, North Carolina, a gunner with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, Task Force No Slack, test fires a .50 caliber machine gun at Observation Post Coleman. The post is a historical fort that provides over watch for Combat Outpost Monti in eastern Afghanistan's Kunar Province. (Staff Sgt. Gary A. Witte, 300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/U.S. Army) #

Medical information is written across the chest of a wounded enemy prisoner of war being transported aboard a Medevac helicopter after being captured and treated by U.S. Marines September 18, 2010 near Marja, Afghanistan. The information includes the time a tourniquet was placed on one of his legs and the time he was given morphine for the pain. The POW had been shot in both of his legs. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

Afghan men gather in a tea shop in Kabul's old city on Monday Sept. 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Hossein Fatemi) #

Fekiria, 14 (left), practices the cello during class alongside Zahra, 14 at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music on September 26, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Afghanistan's first and only music high school opened in June and now has 150 students, including 27 girls. The Taliban regime, from 1996 to 2001 banned all music, forcing many musicians to put away their instruments or go into exile. The school's aim is to revive long-neglected musical traditions using both Afghan and foreign instructors. 25 students were recruited from the war-ravaged country's large number of orphans and street children. (Paula Bronstein /Getty Images) #

Afghan female officers attend their graduation ceremony for the first class of 29 women September 23, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Over the last 20 weeks, eight U.S Army women mentors worked alongside the 29 candidates who are some of the first to serve in a position of authority as officers in the Afghan National Army (ANA). Their ages range from 18-35, many are housewives. (Paula Bronstein /Getty Images) #

Families say their goodbyes to soldiers from the Royal High Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland as they leave for a six month tour in Afghanistan on September 27, 2010 in Penicuik in Scotland. Around 450 soldiers from the battalion are being deployed to Helmand Province for a variety of roles , including training and mentoring the Afghan security forces. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) #

Internally displaced Afghan children listen to crank-powered radios distributed by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Kabul, Afghanistan on Friday, Sept. 17, 2010. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty this week started distributing 20,000 free radio sets to Afghans, including those in distant mountain villages and refugee camps to counter the Taliban-sponsored stations, the so called "Mullah Radios", that operate mainly in the tribal areas along the Pakistani border and air propaganda that drives public opinion against foreign troops and the Afghan pro-Western government. (AP Photo/Ahmad Massoud) #

French soldiers from 68 Regiment Africa Artillery (RAA) fire a 120mm mortar from Rocco Combat Outpost as they take part in Operation "Glued Finger 2" in Surobi District on September 21, 2010. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

Five-year-old Zachary is consoled by his father David Powell during funeral services for Staff Sgt. Joshua D. Powell in Springfield, Illinois on Sept. 28, 2010. Powell, 25, of Pleasant Plains died in a helicopter crash Sept. 21 during combat operations in Zabul province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Joshua D. Powell was the son of David Powell and Zachary's older brother. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman) #

Cpl. Anthony Patris, a vehicle commander from Jump Platoon, Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, listens in as his interpreter, Nasrullah Sadat, speaks with Afghan boys after an improvised explosive device detonated in Pinjadoo, Afghanistan, Sept. 6, 2010. No Marines or Afghans were injured by the explosion. (Sgt. Mark Fayloga/U.S. Marine Corps) #

An enemy prisoner of war is transported by a Medevac team from Dustoff Task Force Shadow of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade after being shot in the abdomen on September 25, 2010 near Marja, Afghanistan. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

Villagers look on as an Ilyushin II-76TD aircraft flies over the village of Sefidbar, south of Herat, western Afghanistan September 12, 2010. (REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi) #

Lance Cpl. Gray Smith, a rifleman with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, mans a security post from the roof of the Nawa District Governor's Center Sept. 10, 2010, the first day of Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan. Smith is from Phoenix, Oregon. (Sgt. Mark Fayloga/U.S. Marine Corps) #

US medic Roy Heggernes with the 101st Airborne Division Alpha Battery 1-320th treats injured Afghan boy Abdul Qar, 13, at Combat Outpost Nolen before his evacuation on the outskirts of Arghandab Valley's Jellawar village on September 8, 2010. Abdul Qar and his father stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), intended to target US soldiers, which killed his father instantly. Qar was carried by his uncle to Combat Outpost Nolen where he was treated, driven to Combat Outpost Terra Nova and flown by a Medevac helicopter to Kandahar. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

Singer, composer, peace and rights activist Farhad Darya performs at a concert attended by hundreds of women during a peace day event on September 21, 2010 in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh province, north of Kabul, Afghanistan. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #

Singer and activist Farhad Darya reaches out to women as he performs at a concert during a peace day event on September 21, 2010 in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. During the Taliban era women were not allowed to go outside the chart of the house let alone a concert. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #

A US soldier with the 101st Airborne Division 1-320th Alpha Battery patrols a pomegranate orchard in Chahar Qolbah, a hamlet on the outskirts of the village of Jellawar on September 10, 2010. Pomegranates -- found everywhere in Afghanistan, are a beacon of hope for the fractured farming sector. Up to 80 percent of Afghans rely on agriculture, yet the country's rural economy has been blighted by three decades of conflict. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images) #