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“We’re not hunting the Taliban,” Maj. Jonkers said last week. “We’re here to make them not important anymore. But it’s not about cowardice. When we fight, we fight.”

Reconstruction in Tarin Kowt — including an Australian project to rebuild a soccer field at a boys school — continued despite the Taliban attacks. On Friday, engineers spread tons of fresh dirt for the field while the wreckage of the suicide bomber’s car continued to burn two blocks away.