Afghanistan: August 2011

On August 6, 2011, American forces in Afghanistan suffered their single deadliest day in the nearly decade-long war, as Taliban insurgents shot down a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, killing 30 Americans and eight Afghans. August continued to be a particularly deadly month for Afghan civilians, who bore the brunt of dozens of attacks and IED explosions across the country. According to the Associated Press, Afghan government officials were apparently angered when they learned of secret American talks with an emissary of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, and in reaction appear to have leaked details of the secret meetings, scuttling the talks and sending the emissary into hiding in Europe. As the U.S. continues its plan to withdraw combat forces by the end of 2014, a negotiated settlement between the Karzai government and the Taliban has become a major goal, but all sides involved are reportedly pursuing separate, often secret discussions with multiple contacts inside the insurgency. Gathered here are images from the ongoing conflict over the past 31 days, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (Editor's note, the next posting here will be on Sunday, September 4th) [41 photos total]

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US Army Flight Medic Brandon Lowther (left) holds the hand of a fatally wounded US army soldier as he is airlifted by the Medevac helicopter of 159th Brigade Task Force Thunder, on August 24, 2011, to Kandahar Hospital Role 3. Two US soldiers were heavily injured by gun shots and brought to the hospital. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images) #
(1 of 2) An assault breaching vehicle with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion fires a line charge to clear Improvised Explosive Devices in and around the Ladar Bazaar in Shukvani, Helmand province, Afghanistan. The charge is comprised of 1,750 pounds of C4 explosive and is spread along a 350-foot rope. (Cpl. Jeff Drew/USMC) #
(2 of 2) An explosion rocks the ground in the Ladar Bazaar in Shukvani, Helmand province, Afghanistan, after a line charge is detonated. Second Combat Engineer Battalion leveled the marketplace to clear it of Improvised Explosive Devices and make the area a safer place for local residents. (Cpl. Jeff Drew/USMC) #
Spc. Adam Supino, M249 squad automatic weapon gunner attached to Laghman Provincial Reconstruction Team, takes a break while on a security halt during a multi-day operation on August 21, 2011, in Alingar District, Laghman province. The PRT, combined with assets from the 45th Infantry Brigade, conducted a cordon and search in a village thought to be home to IED makers and Taliban fighters. (Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane/Provincial Reconstruction Team Laghman) #
An aerial view taken from an aircraft shows an Afghan child following a woman through the streets of a village near Pasab some 30 kilometers west from Kandahar, on August 24, 2011. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images) #
Rehmat Ullaha, Afghan fruit vendor poses for picture at a local market in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin) #
Afghan National Army members and U.S. Army soldiers from Alpha Company 2nd battalion 27th infantry (The Wolfhounds), Task Force No Fear watch a Chinook helicopter carrying supplies landing upon arrival at Observation Post Mace from FOB Bostick in eastern Afghanistan Naray district, near the border of Pakistan, on August 26, 2011. (Reuters/Nikola Solic) #
An Afghan woman looks at a display in the Kabul Museum, on August 4, 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan. The sculptures, which had been destroyed by Islamists during the Taliban regime, were repaired after the collapse of the hardliners in 2001. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #
An ancient sculpture is displayed in the Kabul Museum, on August 4, 2011. Portions of the collection have been exhibited in seven countries. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #
US infantryman Private Freymond Tyler of Delta Company, 2-87 Infantry Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, sleeps on his laptop next to his gun in the Delta Company barracks at combat outpost Makuan in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan on August 13, 2011 -- a day before an air and ground assault mission by Delta Company against insurgents in nearby Maiwand district. According to Major Kirby Dennis, operations officer of Task Force 2-87, the August 14, 2011, five hour raid in Maiwand district resulted in the capture of eight Afghans among them are two suspected Taliban leaders and assorted bomb making components. (Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Afghan girl greets a joint patrol of US troops from the Charlie Company, 2-87 Infantry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team and Afghan National Army soldiers at Kandalay village in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, on August 8, 2011. (Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Afghan man carries his belongings as he passes burning fuel tankers in the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 4, 2011. Police said around five fuel tankers carrying fuel for NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan caught fire inside a depot in Kabul. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin) #
Afghan men watch fuel tankers that caught fire in Kabul, on August 4, 2011. Police said they are investigating the incident,with no casualties reported, but have so far dismissed any terrorist involvement. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Afghan shopkeeper clears shattered glass outside his shop near the British Council in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 20, 2011. The nation's capital was recovering Saturday from an eight-hour assault on a British compound a day earlier killing eight people, including four police officers, two Afghan security guards, two foreign security guards and wounding dozens. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin) #
Sayed Mohammad Nabi, a 42 year-old farmer from Kalakan Village, shows some grape vines in the Shomali Palains north of Kabul, on August 8, 2011, during the grape harvest. The Shomali Plain is a plateau north of Kabul, fertile and rich with water, and was a large battleground for some 23 years. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images) #
A scenic view from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flying over Regional Command-East, Afghanistan, Aug. 18. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Michael O'Connor) (Master Sgt. Michael O'Connor/ISAF) #
Two Afghan civilian men lie in the Medevac of 159th Brigade Task Force Thunder, to be airlifted to Kandahar Hospital Hero, on August 25, 2011. Three Afghan nationals where heavily injured by an motorbike accident. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images) #
A wounded Afghan man closes his eyes as he is airlifted to Kandahar Hospital Hero after by a Medevac from the 159th Brigade Task Force Thunder on August 26, 2011. The man was hit by an IED and lost his right leg. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images) #
An explosive ordnance disposal team drives their vehicle to a secluded area to dispose of an improvised explosive device found by local Afghan National Police in Alingar District, Laghman province, on August 8, 2011. (Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane/Provincial Reconstruction Team Laghman) #
The family of U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Benjamin Palmer stand as the colonel's remains are carried to his burial ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, on August 23, 2011 in Arlington, Virginia. Assigned to Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2, Palmer, 43, of Modesto, California, was fatally shot May 12 by a member of the paramilitary Afghan Civil Order Police Unit he was mentoring in Helmand Province. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) #
Local surfers memorialize Navy bomb technician and Virginia Beach resident Kraig Vickers, who died in the Afghanistan helicopter crash on August 6, by forming a giant circle, interlocking hands and paddles in a ceremony called a paddle out, on August 9, 2011. Vickers was a surfer and stand up paddle boarder originally from Hawaii. (AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, Ross Taylor) #
Afghan National Army soldiers take their position inside the compound of Mullah Omar mosque during a patrol with US troops from the Battle Co., 1-32 Infantry Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team in Sangsar village in Kandahar province, the heartland of Taliban in southern Afghanistan, on August 10, 2011. (Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images) #
River Darya ye Kunar valley near Assadabad is seen from a Canadian Molson contractor helicopter in eastern Afghanistan province of Kunar, on August 20, 2011. (Reuters/Nikola Solic) #
This combination photo shows the 30 troops killed when their helicopter was downed in Afghanistan, on August 6, 2011. The Pentagon identified the Americans as 17 members of the elite Navy SEALs, five Naval Special Warfare personnel who support the SEALs, three Air Force Special Operations personnel and an Army helicopter crew of five. (AP Photo) #
This photograph taken on August 10, 2011, shows fighters with Afghanistan's Taliban militia standing at a cemetery, near the site where a CH-47 Chinook helicopter carrying US troops crashed killing 38 personnel including 30 US soldiers, at the remote Tangi Valley in Wardak province, west of Kabul. Taliban insurgents who shot down a US Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan, leaving 30 American troops dead, have been hunted down and killed in an air strike, a US commander said on August 10. But the insurgent leader who was the target of the original operation in which the Americans perished remained at large, said General John Allen, commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan. (STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images) #
U.S. Army Corporal Frances Gadiane of Alpha Company 2nd battalion 27th infantry (the Wolfhounds), Task Force No Fear from San Diego, California, take position upon arrival at Observation Post Mace from FOB Bostick in eastern Afghanistan Naray district, on August 26, 2011. (Reuters/Nikola Solic) #
The nose of an A-10 Thunderbolt II, viewed while it is refueled in mid-air over southern Afghanistan. The most prominent feature of the A-10 Thunderbolt II is the 30 mm GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling-gun cannon, which can fire 3,900 rounds a minute. (Master Sgt. Jeffrey Allen/USAF) #
Ahmad Taki, a human resources manager at the main international military base, plays guitar at his residence in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 8, 2011. Ahmad Taki has braved threatening phone calls and risked being targeted by the Taliban in the hope that his job with the Americans would provide a ticket to the United States. Now, nearly nine months after applying for a visa program for cases like his, he's heard nothing and feels abandoned by the people for whom he's risked his life. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin) #
Two V-22 Osprey aircraft prepare for take off from Camp Bastion, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on August 22, 2011. (Sergeant Mitch Moore/RAF) #
A US infantryman of Delta Company, 2-87 Infantry Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, prepares his ammunition in the Delta Company barracks at combat outpost Makuan in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan on August 13, 2011. (Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images) #
Captured Taliban suspect identified as "detainee number 1" awaits interrogation on arrival at the Forward Operating Base Pasab in Zahri district, Kandahar province southern Afghanistan on August 15, 2011, following a five hour ground and air assault operation by US troops from Bravo and Delta company, 2-87 Infantry Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team and Afghan national security forces in Maiwand district. (Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images) #
Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul convoys along the Tarnek River in Qalat City, Afghanistan, on August 24, 2011. (Senior Airman Grovert Fuentes-Contreras/USAF) #
Afghan warlord Haji Tor Gani, poses with his Russian assault rifle after having hosted an iftar reception for US military officials belonging to 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, in observance of Islam's holy month of Ramadan. The reception was held at Tor Gani's highly secured compound in a village at Zahri distict in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province, on August 11, 2011. (Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images) #
US soldiers from the 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 2-87 Infantry, 3d Brigade Combat Team keep guard while troops seal off a canal running through Highway 1 in the outskirts of Kandalay village in Kandahar province, on August 6, 2011. According to Captain Max Ferguson commander of Charlie Co., a member of the Taliban was killed while trying to place an IED some 800 meters from the area where soldiers were sealing off the road culvert with iron grids and barbed wire. (Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images) #
Internally displaced Afghan girls looks out from a glass window of a shanty, in a refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 9, 2011. According to UNHCR some 2.7 million registered Afghans refugees still remain in Pakistan and Iran. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin) #
Men retreat as a fireball rises from tankers which were carrying fuel for NATO forces in Afghanistan, as they explode after being attacked on the outskirts of Quetta, Pakistan, on August 19, 2011. There were no reported casualties. (Reuters/Naseer Ahmed) #
Local residents watch the burning NATO supply oil tankers following an attack by gunmen on the main highway at Kolpur village, 25 km (15 mi) south of Quetta, on August 22, 2011. Gunmen on motorbikes in southwestern Pakistan on August 22 set ablaze at least 19 oil tankers carrying fuel for US-led NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan, officials said. (Banaras Khan/AFP/Getty Images) #
US soldiers gather near a destroyed vehicle and protect their faces from rotor wash, as their wounded comrades are airlifted by a Medevac helicopter from the 159th Brigade Task Force Thunder to Kandahar Hospital Role 3, on August 23, 2011. Three soldiers were wounded while their vehicle was destroyed up by an Improvised Explosive Devise (IED). (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Afghan man stops to pose for a photo while riding his bicycle along Highway 1 in Zabul province, Afghanistan, on August 23, 2011. Unlike many countries, it is normal for the people of Afghanistan to bicycle roughly 100 kilometers a day to transport food. (Senior Airman Grovert Fuentes-Contreras/USAF) #
Soldiers with the U.S. Army's 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, board a plane as they begin their journey home upon completion of their year-long deployment, on August 4, 2011 at Forward Operating Base Sharana in Paktika province, Afghanistan. The 4th Brigade Combat Team was the last brigade to deploy as part of President Obama's 30,000 troop surge. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
British Army Lieutenant Daniel John Clack's fiancee Amy Tinley (2nd from left), mother Sue Clack (left), and brother James (right) gather just before his coffin is driven through the town of Wootton Bassett, England, on August 18, 2011. Clack, 24, of the 1st Battalion The Rifles was killed while serving in Afghanistan the Friday before. (Reuters/Andrew Winning) #

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