Marine Lance Cpls. Julia Carroll (left) and Paula Pineda lift "Carl" — a 220-pound test dummy — during training in March in California. Female Marines have completed months of training and are now waiting to hear whether they will be allowed to serve in combat roles. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

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Lt. Gen. Abdul Raziq is the police chief widely credited with bringing much greater security to the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. But critics accuse him of human rights abuses including torture and extrajudicial killings. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

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Brig. Gen. Akram Samme coordinates his men at Camp Eagle in the Shah Joy district of Zabul province in southern Afghanistan. He is a commander in the major operation against the Taliban that's currently under way. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

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Brig. Gen. Viet Luong of the 1st Cavalry Division came to the United States in the 1970s after his family fled Vietnam in the waning days of the war there. He's now leading the effort to train Afghan soldiers to fight the Taliban. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

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