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How the Indiana National Guard prepares contractors for the real thing. Read more»

Marines return from a patrol in Southern Shorshork, Helmand province, Afghanistan, during Operation Cobra, June 17.

In the six months after 15,000 U.S., British and Afghan troops sought to evict the Taliban from Marjah in Operation Moshtarak (“Togetherness”), but the local government here is still weak. Security isn’t much better; Marine helicopters won’t land at Marjah’s district center, the seat of government, because they’ve taken fire there. Read more»

General Stanley McChrystal is interviewed by BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet on June 6.

Soldiers knew more than anyone else what damage had been done when news broke that their commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of the U.S.-led international force's 140,000 troops in Afghanistan, had criticized his commander in chief in an inflammatory Rolling Stone article. Read more»

An Australian solider removes his helmet after returning from an offensive against the Taliban in the Shah Wali Kot region of Kandahar Province.

Thousands of American troops have arrived as part of a build up to secure Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second largest city. Fifty-three NATO troops have died so far this month — if the pace continues, it will be the deadliest month since the Afghan war began. Read more»

A Hezbollah poster in Baalbek, Lebanon, in the Bekaa Valley.

Just over a month ago, Israeli President Shimon Peres created a new panic in the Middle East by asserting that Syria had sent Scud missiles to Lebanon's Hezbollah. Read more»

Troops on patrol in Khost Province, April 2010.

In a remote corner of Afghanistan, winning hearts and minds is proving difficult. Taliban and Haqqani Network fighters have set up safe havens and even training camps in the remote valleys of Paktia Province from which they can launch attacks, intimidate villagers and halt badly needed development projects. Read more»

A U.S. Army Soldier attached to 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment hands out informational flyers in Mosul, Iraq.

Staff Sgt. James Ausmann, 32, wears a black metal “memorial” bracelet around his wrist with the names of two buddies killed during the Iraq invasion. “It sucks. You miss them. But you continue to do well, and make sure they didn’t die in vain.” Read more»