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

This past month, much of the attention focused on Afghanistan centered on the release of thousands of classified documents from the war effort by WikiLeaks. While the consensus appears to be that nothing significantly new was revealed by the release, the picture painted by the documents remains rather bleak. NATO and the United States now have 143,000 troops in Afghanistan, set to peak at 150,000 in coming weeks as they take a counter-insurgency offensive into the insurgents' southern strongholds. Taliban control remains difficult to dislodge, and once removed from an area, Taliban forces often return once larger forces leave a region, especially in rural areas where local government presence remains small. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. Master Sgt. Todd Nelson sits for Dr. Joe Villalobos as he makes adjustments to a prosthetic ear at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. An Afghan girl who fixes potholes in a road between Kabul and Bagram and depends on tips from passing motorists, waits for vehicles in Afghanistan. Sgt. Christopher Duke and wife Lauren Duke greet Rufus at PetAirways on Thursday, July 29, 2010, in Atlanta, Georgia. Rufus and two other dogs saved Duke's and other soldiers' lives while serving in Afghanistan when on the evening of Feb. 11, 2010, the dogs attacked a suicide bomber trying to enter their barracks, forcing the bomber to detonate his explosives in the entry corridor. Though five of the 50 soldiers present sustained injuries, none died that night thanks to the three dogs. One of the dogs was killed, the other two later recovered from their injuries. Sgt. Duke wrote to a veterans assistance group called "Hope for the Warriors" asking for the dogs to be brought to the United States, and $21,000 was raised in less than 3 months enabling the dogs to leave Afghanistan.

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