With all the bad news coming out of Syria, Iraq, and the Ukraine, it’s easy to forget that the United States still has thousands of troops on the ground in Afghanistan. While a new combat theater has opened up in the Levant, the fight to vanquish the Taliban and the remnants of the Afghan insurgency rolls on as the longest war in American history finally winds down.
Just last year, one Marine team was conducting a “joint helicopter raid” in Helmand Province when they crossed the sights of a Taliban sniper. The phrase “my life flashed before my eyes” has been used and abused in our culture, but when one of these men kneels down to inspect the hole in his Kevlar helmet, he embodies that feeling.
Almost as striking as the moment itself is the sheer desolation of this land we’ve fought tooth and nail to control for 13 years.