Afghanistan, April, 2010 as presented by: Boston Big Picture

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. A mortar team from the U.S. Army's Centurion Company, 2-1 Infantry Battalion, 5/2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team fire a 60mm round from a hand-held tube outside Combat Outpost Terminator in Maiwand District, Kandahar Province. A CAT Scan shows the placement of a 14.5 millimeter high explosive incendiary round which was removed from the scalp of an Afghan National Army solder at the Craig Joint Theater Hospital, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, March 18, 2010. The injury was sustained during an improvised ordinance device attack. Trucks carrying supplies to coalition forces burn after hundreds of people blocked a main road and set them on fire to protest what they said were civilian deaths in NATO operations in Logar province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, April 25, 2010. They gathered hours after NATO said coalition troops killed several insurgents and captured a Taliban sub-commander.

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