** FILE ** Former Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah is pictured during a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009, after announcing his decision not to participate in a runoff presidential election. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
Marines carry a wounded comrade to a waiting helicopter after an improvised explosive device detonated near their armored vehicle in the Taliban stronghold of Marjah in Afghanistan's Helmand province on Tuesday. (Associated Press)
U.S. Marines walk on tracks of a vehicle to avoid improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as their platoon clears a route to reach another platoon in Marjah in Afghanistan's Helmand province in 2010. Marines airdropped into the region came under intense Taliban fire. (Associated Press)
** FILE ** A U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter with the Charlie Company, Task Force Talon, takes off at a forward operating base south of Marjah, in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Friday Feb. 12, 2010. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
MARY F. CALVERT/THE WASHINGTON TIMES
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael "Oz" Osmun, 27, of the 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, refuels an MQ-1 Predator drone at Kandahar Air Field in Kandahar, Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border.
** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (left) looks on as Afghan President Hamid Karzai (second from right) greets Richard C. Holbrooke, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009. (AP Photo/U.S. Embassy)
** FILE ** A U.S. Humvee of the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, drives near a crater caused by a roadside bomb attack on a U.S. vehicle in Tangi Valley in Wardak province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2009.
U.S. soldiers from the 5th Striker Brigade patrol near the Sari Ghundi village along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border Monday. The administration is preparing benchmarks to test how effective President Obama's strategies are in Afghanistan and Pakistan amid growing skepticism among Democrats about the wars' prognosis and costs. (Associated Press)
Sgt. Karl Augustus, on his third tour in Iraq, says he thinks the new Iraq withdrawal timetable means his next deployment will be to Afghanistan, and he looks forward to that. "I'm just ready for whatever," he says.
** FILE ** Richard C. Holbrooke (left), the U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan meets with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in February 2009 as tensions over civilian casualties strain relations between the two countries. (Associated Press)
** FILE ** Soldiers who distinguished themselves in action in Afghanistan and Iraq receive honors during ceremonies at Fort Bragg, N.C., in 2008. The most-honored unit was a Special Forces team that won 10 Silver Star medals for valor during a single battle.
The operations center features numerous, movie-theater-size flat-screen monitors that stream live images from unmanned aircraft patrolling the two theaters of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force)
Pakistani officials get ready on Nov. 17, 2008 near Peshawar to escort trucks carrying supplies for NATO and U.S. forces to neighboring Afghanistan through Pakistan's Khyber Pass, an increasingly perilous 30-mile stretch. (Associated Press)
** FILE ** Soon-to-be-wed Faiz Mohammed (left), 40, and Ghulam Haider, 11, are pictured at her home in a rural village of Damarda in Afghanistan's Ghor province in 2008. (Stephanie Sinclair/Special to The Washington Times)