Afghanistan: July 2011

In the month of July, 54 coalition soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, including 32 Americans. This was as the United States began drawing down its forces, with some 10,000 U.S. troops due to pull out by the end of the year. Currently, the U.S. has some 150,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan. This month also saw an escalation in recent assassinations claimed by the Taliban, as both the mayor of Kandahar and President Hamid Karzai's half-brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, were killed. The assassinations and continued suicide attacks are heightening uncertainty in the face of troop withdrawals, despite assurances from both coalition and Afghan officials. Gathered here are images from the ongoing conflict over the past 31 days, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. [41 photos total]

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Members of the Third Platoon, Bravo Battery of the Automatic Battalion, 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment, light up the Zabul province night firing their M777A2 howitzer at suspected enemy movements from Forward Operating Base Pasab, Zharay District, Zabul province, Afghanistan, on July 20, 2011. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Christopher McCann) #
An internally displaced Afghan man speaks from a small window at a refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, on July 28, 2011. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #
A V-22 Osprey carries an external load at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, on July 18, 2011. While attaching the load, the Osprey was hovering less than ten feet above the heads of the LS Marines, who were attaching the load in support of Exercise Mojave Viper as they prepare to deploy to Afghanistan later this year. (USMC/Cpl. Kenneth Jasik) #
An Afghan farmer works in his field in the village of Salam Bazar, on Friday, July 22, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
Taliban graffiti shows Taliban fighters in a convoy on a wall in the Musa Qala district center, the current Battalion Command Headquarters for the U.S. Marine 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, on Monday, July 25, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The district center, once a large opium market under Taliban control also served as sleeping quarters for opium addicts. The graffiti, from that period, depicts Taliban fighters shooting down Russian, American or coalition planes, blowing up their tanks and taking their prisoners. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
A bomb dropped from a U.S. Air Force F-15 jet explodes during a firefight between Taliban fighters and the Afghan and U.S. soldiers from 2nd Platoon, Charlie company, 2nd battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment at Checkpoint Two Point Five in Kunar province, Afghanistan, on July 14, 2011. (Reuters/Baz Ratner) #
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (left) and Prime Minister Francois Fillon sit in front seven flag-draped coffins inside the Invalides church during a religious ceremony as France pays tribute to the seven soldiers killed last week in Afghanistan in Paris, on July 19, 2011. (Reuters/Philippe Wojazer) #
U.S. Marines with the 2nd Battalion 12th Marines based in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, pass an old Russian tank -- a remnant from the war between the Soviet Union and Afghan Mujahideen -- as they patrol in northern Kajaki, Helmand province, Afghanistan, on Friday, July 29, 2011. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
Lance Cpl. Anthony Nolley-Crosson, an intelligence clerk with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, prepares to launch an RQ-11B Raven unmanned aircraft system during UAS flight operations at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, Hawaii, on July 12, 2011. In a few months, Nolley-Crosson and fellow 3/3 Marines will be using the Raven system in Afghanistan. (USMC/Cpl. Reece E. Lodder) #
U.S. Air Fore Staff Sgt. Stephen Adams observes 36,500 pounds of JP8 fuel fly out the back of a C-17 Globemaster III over Afghanistan, on July 8, 2011. The C-17 dropped more than 121,000 pounds of food and fuel during a 15 hour mission. (USAF/Staff Sgt. David Salanitri) #
Pallets of water and fuel land after an airdrop re-supply mission at Forward Operating Base Ice, Gulistan District, Farah Province, Afghanistan, on July 22, 2011. (ISAF photo/USAF 1st Lt Mark Graff) #
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Cruz repeats the oath of re-affirmation and re-enlistment during a ceremony conducted by U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commanding general of the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A), at Kandahar Airfield in Kandahar, on July 4, 2011. (Reuters/Haraz N. Ghanbari/U.S. Navy) #
Afghan women protest against street harassment in Kabul, on July 14, 2011. In high heels and head scarves, a small band of Afghan women took to the streets of the country's capital Kabul on Thursday to protest harassment by men. The signs read, "Street violence is illegal" (in black), "We will not be silent in the face of street harassment" (in red) and "To disgrace women is to disgrace humanity" (in blue). (Reuters/Mohammad Ismail) #
U.S. Army Spc. Christopher Fox, automatic rifleman, fires a parachute flare from an M203 40mm grenade launcher, at Forward Operating Base Smart, Afghanistan, on July 15, 2011. Fox is a member of Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul's security force and is deployed from the Massachusetts National Guard. (USAF/Senior Airman Grovert Fuentes-Contreras) #
U.S. Marine Sgt. Jordan Davis, 23, of Martin, Tennessee, with the 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines based in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, reads the book "A Feast for Crows" on a Kindle while smoking a cigarette in his bunk at Patrol Base Salam Bazaar, on July 21, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
Soharab Ahmed, an Afghan man holds his son Ameer Ahmed as they pose for a picture inside their house in Kabul, Afghanistan, on July 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin) #
A pair of CH-47 Chinook helicopters touch down on the helicopter landing zone on Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam to pick up soldiers from Laghman Provincial Reconstruction Team for a multiple day mission on July 23, 2011. (USAF/Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane) #
An Afghan National Army soldier fires his weapon during a firefight between Taliban fighters and the Afghan and U.S. soldiers from 2nd Platoon, Charlie company, 2nd battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, at Checkpoint Two Point Five in Kunar province, on July 14, 2011. (Reuters/Baz Ratner) #
U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Scott Messier, who was injured by an IED, lies onboard a Blackhawk Medevac helicopter from Charlie Company 1st battalion 52nd aviation regiment flying over Kandahar province, on July 3, 2011. (Reuters/Baz Ratner) #
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane displays a picture of his family in his helmet while out on a combat patrol in the Alingar District, on July 13, 2011. Sgt. Crane is a combat cameraman attched to Laghman provincial reconstruction team and is tasked with documenting the mission for historical purposes. (USAF/Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane) #
A couple celebrates during a welcome home ceremony for U.S. Army troops returning from Afghanistan, on July 9, 2011 in Fort Carson, Colorado. Some 530 soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team arrived over the weekend, the last major element of the brigade to return from a year of heavy fighting against Taliban fighters in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province. (John Moore/Getty Images) #
In this July 21, 2011 photo, the hands of a local Afghan woman are seen through the door of her home as she pleads with U.S. Marines with the 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines based in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and soldiers of the Afghan National Army, to leave for fear of being shot at by the Taliban, during a mission to look for insurgents in the village of Siraqula in Helmand province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
An Afghan National Army soldier, right, carries his wounded colleague as U.S soldiers carry another wounded Afghan National Army soldier to a medevac helicopter from the U.S. Army's Task Force Lift "Dust Off," Charlie Company 1-52, following a roadside bomb attack on the outskirts of Kandahar, on Friday, July 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) #

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The body of Sardar Mohammad, the killer of Ahmad Wali Karzai -- the half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai -- hangs from a building in Kandahar, on July 12, 2011. A group of men in plainclothes hung the corpse against the wall for about 20 minutes before they carried it away. The Kandahar provincial police chief said Ahmad Wali Karzai was shot dead by the long-serving commander of his family's personal protection force. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #
Afghan President HAmid Karzai (center) attends the last memorial service for his brother Ahmad Wali Karzai, in Dand district of Kandahar province, on July 13, 2011. A weeping Afghan President Hamid Karzai led thousands of mourners in burying his brother, who was assassinated by his own head of security in the southern city of Kandahar. Ahmed Wali Karzai was for years dogged by allegations of links to the drugs trade and corruption, but his death is a huge blow for NATO and the government, who made him the key powerbroker in the south and threatens to fuel insecurity. (Mamoon Durrani/AFP/Getty Images) #
A helicopter belonging to the NATO-led forces drops flares during fighting between the Afghan and foreign troops and the Taliban insurgents in Shewa district of Nanagarhar province, on July 17, 2011. At least 10 insurgents were killed when Afghan and foreign troops targeted a group of Taliban who had gathered in a school in Shewa district, district police chief, Abdul Wali said. (Reuters/Parwiz) #
A British Army soldier sits in his armored vehicle before going for a mission from the Patrol Base Jahan Zeb in a desert outside the town of Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province, on July 17, 2011. (Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov) #
A spotter with the 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines based in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, lies down atop a guard post as an insurgent is identified planting a roadside bomb at Patrol Base Salaam Bazaar in Helmand province, on July 23, 2011. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
Clasping his prosthetic hand, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Leroy Arthur Petry listens during a ceremony in which he was presented with the Medal of Honor by U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington July 12, 2011. Petry received the medal for his courageous actions during combat operations against an armed enemy in Paktya, Afghanistan in May, 2008. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque) #
Hospital Corpsman Luke Rhoades, 22, of Cold Water, Michigan, with the 2nd Battalion 12th Marines based in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, winds up for a swing at a golf ball on July 28, 2011 at Forward Operating Base Zeebrugge in Kajaki, Helmand province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
Afghan Kuchi, or nomad boys, play as they pose for pictures outside their temporary camp on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, on July 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin) #
U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Kyle Delany, 21, of Milford, Michigan, with the 2nd Battalion 12th Marines based in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, hikes up to a mountain top observation point, the Helmand River reservoir in the background, on July 30, 2011 in Kajaki, Helmand province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
Mohammad Sherrif, District Governor for Sangin, salutes the battlefield cross for U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Ralph E. Pate Jr., an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician with 8th Engineer Support Battalion in support of 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 8, during a memorial ceremony held at Forward Operating Base Jackson, Sangin, Afghanistan, on July 11, 2011. Pate was killed in action while conducting combat operations in the district on June 26, 2011. (USMC/Cpl. Logan W. Pierce) #
An emblem of Afghan National Police (ANP) can be seen on the door of a vehicle damaged in attack in the town of Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province, on July 12, 2011. (Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov) #
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Theresa Dodge (center) receives a flag during the burial of her fiancee, U.S. Marine Cpl. Kyle R. Schneider, at Arlington National Cemetery, on July 19, 2011, in Arlington, Virginia. Cpl. Schneider, 23, who was from Phoenix, New York, was killed in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on June 30. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images) #
Khan Mohammed comforts his son Jaali Mohammed, who lost his leg in a roadside bomb, onboard a medevac helicopter from the US Army's Task Force Lift "Dust Off", Charlie Company 1-52 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on July 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) #
An Afghan national army soldier fires a rocket propelled grenade during a firefight between Taliban fighters and Afghan and U.S. soldiers from Alpha company, 2nd battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment from Combat Outpost Pirtle King in Kunar province, Afghanistan, on July 18, 2011. (Reuters/Baz Ratner) #
The sun rises over the Arghandab valley's farms and mud houses, on July 24, 2011. (Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images) #
British Army Corporal Simon Ward of 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment (Staffords) familiarizes himself with a U.S. Marines armored vehicle near the Patrol Base Jahan Zeb, outside the town of Lashkar Gah, on July 15, 2011. (Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov) #
An Afghan man speeds past Afghan National Army soldiers after clearing a checkpoint near Camp Leatherneck, Helmand province, on July 26, 2011. (USMC/Staff Sgt. Jeremy Ross) #
Master Sgt. Todd Eipperle, of Marshalltown, Iowa, salutes the casket at the end of funeral services for Iowa National Guard soldier Sgt. 1st Class Terryl L. Pasker, at the River of Life Ministries, on July 18, 2011, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Guard says Pasker, 39, of Cedar Rapids, was killed during combat operations July 9 in Panjshir Province, Afghanistan. Eipperle, a master sergeant in the Iowa National Guard, was injured in the same attack. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) #

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