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December 1, 2010

Afghanistan, November, 2010

Saturday, November 27th marked a milestone in Afghanistan - after that day passed, the United States and its allies have now been in Afghanistan longer than the Soviet Union had been when it withdrew in 1989. Recent announcements by the U.S. appear to show that it plans to remain at least another four years. In the south, U.S. forces are increasingly encountering abandoned buildings that are heavily booby-trapped as they pursue the Taliban, leading them to systematically destroy the structures. Arghandab district governor Shah Muhammed Ahmadi said "In some villages where only a few houses were contaminated by bombs, we called the owners and got their agreement to destroy them, In some villages like Khosrow that were completely empty and full of IED's, we destroyed them without agreement because it was hard to find the people - and not just Khosrow, but many villages. We had to destroy them to make them safe." Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (43 photos total)

One of twenty surrendering Taliban militants is presented to the media while being held for safety in a mosque belonging the NDS (National Department of Security) on November 4, 2010 in Herat, Afghanistan. Following an amnesty launched by President Hamid Karzai in November 2004, hundreds of anti-government Taliban militants have since surrendered to the government. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

An Afghan police officer points to the site of fire after a convoy of NATO fuel tankers was attacked by militants in Behsod district of Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Nov 14, 2010. Afghan Officials say insurgents set fire to a convoy of NATO fuel tankers in eastern Afghanistan, while a bomb blast in the south killed a NATO service member and other civilians. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #

A U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender aircraft assigned to the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, supplies fuel to a U.S Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon over the mountains of Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on Nov. 25, 2010.(U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. Andy M. Kin) #

President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Honor to Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, who rescued two members of his squad in October 2007 while fighting in the war in Afghanistan, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010, at the White House in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) #

Katie Stack, 19, looks at the flag-draped casket carrying the remains of her husband Marine Lance Cpl. James Stack, 20, after they arrived at Chicago Executive Airport on November 18, 2010 in Wheeling, Illinois. James Stack was killed November 10 while serving with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment in Sangin, Afghanistan. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

US soldiers of the 502nd Infantry regiment 2nd Battalion Charger company blow up a wall of a compound around Kop Ahmed camp near Kandahar city on November 29, 2010. (MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images) #

A close-up view of saffron flowers on a farm on November 09, 2010 in Herat, Afghanistan. Around 2,500 farmers, in eight provinces, are working on saffron farms for export mostly to India and some European countries. The trade in saffron is estimated to be of an annual value in excess of 200 million USD to Afghanistan. Agricultural produce programs including Saffron are being offered to farmers as an alternative to the harvesting of poppies, used in the production of heroin and in breaking reliance upon financial support provided by drug organizations linked with counterinsurgency elements such as the Taliban. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #

Afghan children with sheep walk through a path covered with fallen leaves in Panjwai district, Afghanistan's Kandahar province, on Friday, Nov. 26, 2010. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) #

On Nov. 11, 2010, above Sangin, Afghanistan, an A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack aircraft makes a strafing run in support of U.S. Marines. Once sharply curtailed because of complaints over civilian casualties, U.S. and NATO forces have ramped up the air war in Afghanistan since this summer. Coalition aircraft dropped 1,000 bombs and missiles in October - one of the highest monthly totals of the 9-year-old war. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic) #

An Afghan man waits for transport as night falls in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010 (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #

Crowds laugh, sing and cheer as they wait for the music to start November 19, 2010 in Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan. Thousands of fans flocked to the city of Lashkar Gah for one of the biggest musical events ever known in Afghanistan. The city's Karzai Stadium played host to a concert by world-famous Afghan musician Farhad Darya, dubbed the 'Afghan Elvis', an event that could never have taken place under the regime of the music-hating Taliban. (Sgt Rupert Frere/MOD via Getty Images) #

Farhad Darya performs November 19, 2010 in Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan. Farhad Darya is a major celebrity in Afghanistan and across the Middle East and has fans in every country in the region, as well as many in the West. (Sgt Rupert Frere/MOD via Getty Images) #

A flare flies over a shadow of a chase helicopter during a Medevac mission in southern Afghanistan's Helmand Province November 4, 2010. (REUTERS/Peter Andrews) #

U.S. Marines are served turkey dinners in the main dining facility during the annual Thanksgiving meal at Camp Leatherneck, November 25, 2010 in Helmand, Afghanistan. Roughly 15,000 Marines, other military and private contractors make up the population at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) #

An Afghan archaeologist looks at the remains of Buddha statues discovered inside an ancient monastery in Mes Aynak, in the eastern province of Logar on November 23, 2010. The archaeological dig is located at the world's second-biggest unexploited copper mine. The Chinese government-backed mining company, China Metallurgical Group Corp., which won the contract to exploit the site, has given archaeologists three years to finish the excavations. Archaeologists fear that the 2,600-year-old Buddhist monastery will probably be largely destroyed once work at the mine begins. (SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images) #

Graffiti left behind by Taliban fighters remains on the walls of a compound now used as a command center for the U.S Marine Corps's First Battalion, Eighth Marines at Musa Qala in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, November 10, 2010. Musa Qala is an important battleground in the war against Taliban insurgents and the narcotics industry. The town has changed hands several times, most recently in December 2007 when Afghan and international forces retook the town from the Taliban. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

Graffiti reading "The Few, The Proud," by a previous deployment of the U.S Marine Corps's, adorns the walls at Musa Qala in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, November 10, 2010. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

U.S. Marines from First Battalion, Eighth Marines box in a tent used as a makeshift gym in their base at Musa Qala in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, November 10, 2010. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly ) #

A veteran member of the Taliban smokes a cigarette as he speaks to The Associated Press in Afghanistan on Nov 2, 2010. The longtime member said scribbled notes from Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar have surfaced in mosques all over Afghanistan's ethnic Pashtun heartland, threatening death to anyone who takes up a government offer to negotiate for peace. Trying to quash rumors of a break in their ranks, the Taliban have also vehemently denied reports that representatives of the militant group were involved in negotiations with the Afghan government. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) #

Afghan boys take aim with toy guns as they enact a scene of gun battle on the second day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010 (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #

Artillery rounds of phosphorescence explode above Taliban positions during a battle in Musa Qala district in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province November 7, 2010. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

The body of a suspected Taliban fighter, disguised as an Afghan National Army solider, lies in bushes following an attack on the Jalalabad military air base in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #

A supporter of Afghan candidates for the parliamentary elections holds a banner during a protest in Kabul November 24, 2010. Afghan election candidates took to the streets of Kabul on Wednesday to protest against a polling process they say was corrupt and shameful ahead of the expected announcement of final results from the Sept. 18 vote. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood) #

Jayden French hugs his uncle, Spc. Nick French, of the New Hampshire National Guard, upon his return to the state at the Manchester/Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, New Hampshire on Monday, Nov. 22, 2010. Spc. French and the 172nd Infantry unit have been based in Afghanistan for the past ten months.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa) #

New Afghan police recruits practice shooting at a firing range on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan on Nov. 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #

Governor Gulabuddin Mangal of Helmand Province touches the name of William Aldridge on the Armed Forces memorial during a visit to the National Arboretum in Alrewas, central England, November 4, 2010. Rifleman William Aldridge was the youngest member of UK Armed Forces to be killed in Afghanistan. (REUTERS/Darren Staples) #

The bodies of five Taliban fighters killed by Afghan National Police are piled in the back of a vehicle at Musa Qala in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, November 13, 2010. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly ) #

An Afghan man ties his dog to a destroyed tank on a hill in Kabul November 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood) #

U.S. Marines help their wounded comrade to a helicopter while under fire during a Medevac mission in southern Afghanistan's Helmand Province November 10, 2010. (REUTERS/Peter Andrews) #

More than 4,560 candidates take a test to compete for 600 available National Military Academy of Afghanistan slots in the class of 2015 at the academy in Kabul on Nov. 4, 2010. The academy issued invitations to the top three percent of recent high school graduates to attend a three-day selection process which consists of a physical fitness and written exam. (U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. Sarah Brown) #

A young Afghan girl applies lipstick as she sits on a gravestone in the old part of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #

An Army carry team walks through the fog during the dignified transfer of Army Pfc. Jacob C. Carroll of Clemmons, North Carolina upon arrival at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware on Monday, Nov. 15, 2010. The Department of Defense announced the death of Pfc. Carroll who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) #

Women's clothes are displayed on mannequins in a new market on November 1, 2010 in Herat, Afghanistan. Insurgent attacks have increased lately in Herat which is still considered one of the safer places in the country with modern markets springing up in various sections of the city. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #

An Afghan policeman stands guard next the body of a suspected suicide bomber at the site of an explosion on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Nov. 12, 2010. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #

Journalists wait for the cutting of the ribbon during the re-opening of the only exclusive park for women in Kabul, Afghanistan on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) #

A soldier aims a new XM25 weapon system at Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland. The XM25 is an airburst grenade launcher equipped with a laser rangefinder and programmable grenade that can be set to detonate at a precise distance, for example, directly above an enemy hidden behind a wall. After years of development, the XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System has now been deployed to US units on the battlefields of Afghanistan, where the Army expects it to be a "game-changer" in its counterinsurgency operations. Photo taken on July 30, 2009. (AFP/Getty Images) #

A Bushmaster vehicle is manned 24 hours at a security overwatch position in the Dorafshan region of southern Afghanistan. Vehicles are providing security for the construction of a new patrol base. (ISAF Public Affairs/LS Paul Berry) #

A child receives medical attention during a Medevac mission in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province November 13, 2010. The child was injured in an explosion. (REUTERS/Peter Andrews) #

An Afghan school girl paints an anti-narcotics message on a bridge during a painting festival in Herat, Afghanistan on Friday, Nov. 12, 2010. (AP Photo/Reza Shirmohammadi) #

U.S. Army Pvt. Tyler Cannon of Maine, 19, left, and his comrades from First Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, rest after a patrol in Panjwai district, Afghanistan's Kandahar province, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) #

Maj. Gen. Karl R. Horst presents an American flag to Albert Kridlo, father of Army Spc. Dale J. Kridlo, during burial services at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010. Kridlo's twin daughters, Zoe, second from left, and Madelyne react. Kridlo, 33, of Hughestown, Pennsylvania, was killed Nov. 7, 2010, in Kunar province, Afghanistan, from wounds suffered by insurgents attacks on their unit with small arms fire. He was assigned to the 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) #

Confiscated opium is destroyed as a security officer stands by November 3, 2010 in Herat, Afghanistan. The opium was confiscated by security forces during recent anti-drug operations across the Afghanistan. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #

An Afghan man is detained by U.S. Marines from the First Battalion, Eighth Marines Bravo Company at their base in Talibjan after a battle against Taliban insurgents in Musa Qala district in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province November 7, 2010. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly ) #