Soldiers pause briefly around hour four of an extended fourteen hour patrol through harsh mountainous terrain in Paktika, Afghanistan.
Locals view US forces warily, even in areas supportive of US presence and operations. Local politics and social fissures often influence locals' attitudes and actions towards US and insurgent forces.
Member of a US Provincial Reconstruction Team holds up a photo highlighting a mix of Afghan and Western dress found in an abandoned village. Travelers in the area reported that people left the village due to a combination of poor farming conditions, bad roads, and harassment by insurgent and coalition forces.
A medic works to stabilize a youth who was shot while attacking a fortified US outpost with an AK-47 and a pistol. He was airlifted to a larger base on order to receive advanced medical care.
A US soldier tries to untangle a flag after a stormy night.
A US soldier's body armor, set up for combat.
An Afghan National Police officer suspected of trying to steal a US soldier's night vision goggles is enrolled in a biometric recognition system. The goggles, which are considered a "sensitive item" and could have been sold to insurgents for a high price, were recovered.
A member of the Provincial Reconstruction Team's Security Force gives a local child a "low five" while the PRT assesses a primary school for possible repairs.
US personnel hold a security shura in a remote area to assess local conditions and try to understand the social and political landscape.
An Afghan National Army soldier pauses on patrol near the Pakistan border. Many ANA soldiers are from distant parts of the country, do not speak the local dialect, and may be considered by locals nearly as foreign as ISAF personnel.
Locals view US forces suspiciously in an area that hasn't seen ISAF soldiers in an extended period of time. Areas further afield from US bases are more difficult to influence for US forces spread thin already.
US forces return to base after a fruitless search for insurgents who fired briefly at their base and fled, inturrupting a mission to meet with local leaders in a different part of the valley.