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from the field...

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The F-15 'Strike Eagle' dominates the skies over Afghanistan and when one is caught up in a rather 'difficult situation' can be a most beautiful and reassuring sight. Given the prevalence of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), travel by helicopter is the most reliable and secure way of getting around much of Afghanistan. This British operated Chinook helicopter is landing in  Musa Qal'eh, Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan in order to transport UK troops to a major military operation that was about to get underway. The Afghan National Army fields their own snipers and this one has just climbed a mountain for the purpose of surprising several suicide bombers who are the target of this particular operation in Nejrab District, Kapisa Province in eastern Afghanistan. Two Afghan National Army soldiers take cover as they are being shot at from an enemy position in Kajaki District in southern Afghanistan.
Two American soldiers seek out insurgents while another Afghan civilian is frisked after approaching coalition forces.  The fear of suicide bombers is at the front of everyone's mind. 120mm mortar being fired at enemy positions from the Korengal Post in Kunar province near the Pakistani border. Three Para or soldiers from the Third Paratroop Regiment of the British military in Kajaki District, Helmand Province patrol to secure a strategic thoroughfare in anticipation of a major military undertaking. Afghan National Army soldiers climb one of countless mountains in the Hindu Kush during operations covered by this photojournalist. With wind whipping snow and temperatures approaching 40 below zero, this area instilled great dread in the hearts of former Soviet soldiers who fled Afghanistan in 1989 through the Salang Tunnel.  This lone soldier epitomizes American determination and resolve.
Afghan Artillery blasting insurgent positions during operation Storm Wave in the Tagab and Alasay Valley's of eastern Afghanistan. French and American Forces during military operation in the Tagab Valley.  Passing through seemingly tranquil villages is usually extremely dangerous as it affords the enemy an opportunity to ambush coalition forces. Lone ANA soldier walking along a mountain ridge line during Operation Crazy Omar. The vistas are often dramatic but the tranquility can be shattered in an instant by an IED, rocket, sniper or other unforeseen threat to coalition forces. Afghan National Army Captain talking to Afghan Command Headquarters during a bombardment of enemy positions in Kajaki, Helmand District of southern Afghanistan. Marine Embedded Training Team (ETTs) responsible for training the Afghan National Army in the Korengal Valley returning to base.  This photojournalist was shot in the upper chest minutes after this image was taken. The outstanding Marine corporal photographed in this image along with another hospitalman 3rd class ran from protective cover to help me out of the 'kill zone' after being knocked to the ground.
Afghan Villager arguing with Afghan National Army ground commander as he did not want his home subject to an Afghan military search.  Shortly thereafter the ANA forcibly entered the dwelling in question and found a large quantity of drugs and ammunition. Afghan National Army soldier fires a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) during a firefight in the Korengal Valley, Kunar Province of eastern Afghanistan. Afghan National Army soldier under fire during an operation in the Alasay Valley of Kapisa Province in eastern Afghanistan. Afghan National Army during military operation with French embedded training team (ETT) in background Three Para (British military) emerging through the dust of what looks like hell on earth during Operation Kajaki in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan.

I have recently returned from assignment with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF/NATO) in Afghanistan where I worked as a combat photojournalist and Forward Media Team Leader - running a team of Afghan print and radio journalists. My photojournalism work led me to focus primarily upon Regional Command East (Parwan, Kapisa, Kabul, Ghazni, Nangahar and Kunar Provinces) but also in part on Regional Command South (Helmand and Kandahar Provinces). During my tour in theater I embedded extensively with U.S. (Army - 82nd & 101st Airborne and Marines), French, British and Afghan forces.

copyright © 2005 by Keith Philip Lepor. All rights reserved.