The first thing you notice about Ann Campbell and Marla Schroeder is their tight-bond. They often wrap their arms around each other. They joke, they laugh.
The two women provide a sense of calm at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the home of the 101st Airborne Division. About 17,000 soldiers from the 101st Airborne - nearly the entire division - have been deployed as part of the Afghanistan surge.
Campbell and Schroeder are the wives of the 101st's two top commanders. "Our husbands look after each other and we look after each other," Campbell says.
They call themselves "Battle Buddies" - Army tough women who keep the home front stable while husbands are on the battlefield. "We always joke that being an Army wife is actually the toughest job in the Army."
A soldier with the 101st Airborne Division Alpha Battery 1-320th fires an AT-4 during a recent Taliban attack on the outskirts of the village of Jellawar in the Arghandab Valley.
The blast coming from the back of the the anti-tank weapon kicks up a cloud of dust and debris - including spent shell casings from other weapons.
A young Afghan boy and his sisters learn to make friendship bracelets from U.S. Air Force Capt. Mary Danner-Jones during a Girl Scout meeting in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
Danner-Jones is a member of the Nangarhar Provincial Reconstruction team stationed at Forward Operating Base Finley Shields in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
This is the second time we've seen this little urchin girl. The first time I saw her was near the ruins of the bombed-out Darul-Aman Palace outside Kabul. Totally alone. Filthy. Bereft of everything. Sadly there are so many children like her on the streets of Kabul.
According to UNICEF, there are over 2 million orphans in Afghanistan and twenty-five percent of Afghan children die before reaching their fifth birthday.
U.S. Marines help push an Afghan farmer's tractor out of sand near a patrol base in the town of Amir Agha, Afghanistan. The Marines are from 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7, supporting the International Security Assistance Force.
A woman in a burqa and gloves sells gum on the streets of Kabul. Under Taliban rule women were not allowed to leave their homes without being escorted by a male relative and were required to wear a burqa which covered their bodies from head to toe. Though women have more freedom now than under Taliban rule, some still wear the burqa.
Photo by CNN's Jill Dougherty
Editor's note: Bibi Aisha, the Afghan 19-year-old mutilated by her Talib husband, is now on her way to the United States for reconstructive surgery. CNN correspondent Atia Abawi writes about first meeting Aisha and what she's like today.
Bibi Aisha didn't want to be interviewed and I couldn't blame her.
But her story was so remarkable – and so tragic – that I wasn't about to give up my efforts.
I had to make one more phone call.
Nineteen-year-old Aisha had survived persistent abuse a traumatic assault. Her husband — a member of the Taliban — sliced off her nose and ears after a Taliban court in Oruzgan ruled she had brought shame to the family by running away. (See the original story)
The court didn't care that she was tortured and abused by her father-in-law and 10 brothers-in-law on a daily basis. FULL POST