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. 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. 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. 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.