Afghanistan February 2011 as presented by: Boston Big Picture

The buildup of forces in Afghanistan is complete, with the number of US troops there the highest yet. The surge is part of President Obama’s campaign to take the battle to the Taliban strongholds in the south and east, while accelerating training of Afghan security forces. In February, suicide attacks by militants increased, and villagers and Afghan officials accused NATO of killing a large number of civilians in airstrikes. The images in this month's post show Afghans and NATO-led soldiers working and living through moments of sheer terror and numbing poverty. Through the strife, we see glimpses of the enduring human spirit. An Afghan army recruit marches during a graduation parade after an oath ceremony at Ghazi military training center in Kabul Feb. 3. Strengthening the abilities of Afghan forces to secure their country has been a top goal of US policy. Pakistani police officials and firefighters battle flames that erupted from the wreckage of NATO oil tankers on Feb. 26 in Peshawar. The blast from a timed device struck a day after two dozen militants attacked the compound. Afghan National Army soldiers rest between operations at Kunjak in Afghanistan's Helmand province on Feb. 19.

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