Soldiers left Fort Campbell, Ky., for Afghanistan last February. Now, the base is getting ready to welcome 17,000 soldiers home. Four combat brigades and an aviation unit will leave Afghanistan after the deadliest year of fighting so far. Josh Anderson/AP hide caption

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A U.S. soldier is brought to the emergency room at the U.S. hospital at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, after he was wounded by a roadside bomb in Wardak province, June 2009. The facility uses both cutting-edge technology as well as old techniques discovered anew to treat the massive number of wounded soldiers who pass through. Rafiq Maqbool/AP hide caption

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U.S. soldiers return fire upon a sudden attack by Taliban on Combat Outpost Badel in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border, Dec. 25. Rafiq Maqboold/AP hide caption

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Army medics and soldiers carry a wounded soldier onto an Air Force C-17 at Bagram Air Field in this Aug. 8, 2002, photo. Members from the Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Bagram quickly reconfigure the hold of the massive cargo plane into a flying hospital that will take wounded troops from the war zone to American hospitals in Europe and the United States. Wally Santana/Pool/Getty Images hide caption

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An Afghan construction worker washes up before evening prayers in Kabul's Old City of Murad Khane. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

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October 2009 file photo: U.S. Army Specialist Damyon Miller from the 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, mans a machine gun mounted at the back of a Stryker vehicle as the large armored convoy patrols near the Afghanistan and Pakistan border. Romeo Gacad /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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A Taliban militant (at right with an AK-47 rifle) observes farmers as they collect resin from poppies in an opium poppy field in Afghanistan's Helmand province in 2008. The Taliban not only take a cut from poppy farmers, they are becoming bigger players in running drug labs and smuggling. Poppies are used to make opium, the raw ingredient for heroin, considered to be a major funding source for the Taliban. AP hide caption

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