Two members of the Afghan army's first-ever special operations team in southern Afghanistan. The team was deployed in the field just weeks ago and has been joined by teams of U.S. Army Special Forces in a collaborative security effort outside of Kandahar city.
Capt. Dan of the Green Berets (the U.S. Army Special Forces can only give journalists their first names) on patrol in the village of Ezabad. Together, the American and Afghan special forces are conducting what they call "village stability operations."
Afghan army special forces Capt. Dost is working with the Green Berets and, in most cases, taking the lead. The joint mission aims to provide security, plan development projects and encourage Afghan villagers to resist the Taliban with armed community watch groups.
Capt. Dost (left) talks with a local resident in Ezabad in Afghanistan's Kandahar province. While American efforts may fall on deaf ears, Afghan villagers have been inclined to facilitate the efforts of the Afghan special forces.
A U.S. armored vehicle makes its way through the desert outside Ezabad. While the U.S. Army Special Forces mentor their Afghan counterparts in counterinsurgency tactics, they also benefit from the Afghans' knowledge of local culture and customs.
An Afghan family rides past a joint U.S.-Afghan patrol in Ezabad. Special forces aim to train communities to protect themselves. But they must first gain the trust of local Afghans, and overcome the mistrust caused by local police corruption.
An Afghan commando sits on a mud wall while securing a road during a patrol in the village of Ezabad. Perhaps an auspicious beginning for cooperation between Americans and Afghans, the road ahead looks long and arduous.