An American Green Beret officer blends in with his surroundings while on patrol in Ezabad, a village in southern Afghanistan. Together with the Afghan army's first-ever special operations team, U.S. Special Forces aim to win the trust of Afghan locals.
Two members of the Afghan 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 Kandahar city.
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.
Capt. Dan of the Green Berets (the U.S. Army Special Forces can only give journalists their first names) on patrol in Ezabad. Together, the American and Afghan special forces are conducting what they call "village stability operations."
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.
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.
A boy leans against a mud wall as a joint U.S.-Afghan patrol passes. 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 American Special Forces officer talks with a local farmer in Ezabad, encouraging him to join a village defense force against the Taliban. The farmer explains that the Taliban slips into the village issuing night letters — threats to beat or kill American sympathizers.
An Afghan special forces soldier walks down the narrow roads of Ezabad at the end of a joint patrol with the American Green Berets. An auspicious beginning for cooperation between Americans and Afghans, perhaps, but the road ahead looks long and arduous.