Paramedics and Afghan civilians carry a coffin containing the body of one of five people killed by a roadside bomb in Kandahar in mid-April. Fear has gripped the southern city of Kandahar ahead of NATO's upcoming offensive. Allauddin Khan/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Allauddin Khan/AP

Afghans walk by a house destroyed in a suicide bombing the previous night in Kandahar last month. Fear has gripped the southern city ahead of an upcoming U.S. offensive, as Taliban militants flood into the area in preparation. Rahmat Gul/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Rahmat Gul/AP

Afghan motorists pass a U.S. soldier on patrol last month in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province. U.S. and Canadian forces have announced a major upcoming offensive against the Taliban in Kandahar, the group's stronghold and spiritual birthplace. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption John Moore/Getty Images

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (shown here in Iran in 2001), leader of the militant Hizb-i-Islami group, has recently made peace overtures to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. But observers are unsure about his motives. Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

An illegal crop of poppies stands out from a newly harvested crop of wheat in Afghanistan. The opium trade is a key source of income for the Taliban. Julie Jacobson/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Julie Jacobson/AP

An Afghan security officer tries to stop photographers from taking pictures outside The Park Residence guesthouse at the site of a gun battle in the Shar-e Naw district in Kabul on Feb. 26. Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images

Sally, a bomb-sniffing dog, assists Marines in the search for IEDs during their offensive in Marjah, a Taliban-infested area of southern Afghanistan. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson/NPR

Haji Zahir, the new governor of Marjah in Helmand province, listens to residents' grievances Monday. It was the first time an Afghan government official visited the former Taliban stronghold in two years. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson/NPR

The Afghan head of the Third Brigade 205th corps, Gen. Mohiudin Ghori, tells Marja villagers that it is time to back the government, not the Taliban. Soraya Nelson/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Soraya Nelson/NPR

U.S. Marine and Afghan army commanders confer after their men begin taking fire while on patrol earlier this week. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson/NPR

Atta Mohammad Noor, governor of Afghanistan's northern Balkh province, meets with businessmen, tribal elders and other officials in Mazar-e-Sharif, the provincial capital. No business in Balkh is conducted without the popular former warlord's approval. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson/NPR

Akmal Sawi stands in front of his childhood apartment. To sell the property, he had to pay $3,000 in bribes. Tom Bullock/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Tom Bullock/NPR

Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar is the only public hospital serving five provinces in southern Afghanistan. The hospital is in the middle of a war zone, but it continues to strive to provide better care with the development help of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Holly Pickett for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Holly Pickett for NPR