A team, along with journalist Nick Paton Walsh, embedded with U.S. troops at Combat Outpost Pirtle – King in Afghanistan. You'll see what day to day life is like for these soldiers fighting a war, but you'll also see what it's like to face the ultimate adrenaline rush as they encounter deadly gunfire.
While the CNN team was there covering fighting from the side of the troops, they came perilously close to bullets raining down upon their camp.
It was a double-take, what-did-he-say moment at the Pentagon Wednesday morning when the official spokesman ducked a question about whether the U.S. military is making progress in Afghanistan.
Usually that would have been a slam-dunk for the military. Defense Department officials miss no opportunity to point out successes and highlight achievements in the war in Afghanistan - usually. But the latest, looming, soon-to-be released White House review of Afghanistan strategy is stifling such talk for now.
"I'm not one to judge," said Col. Dave Lapan about progress in Afghanistan, at the regular off-camera meeting in his Pentagon office. "There are lots of people who have been intimately involved in this process. I'm not one of them so I'm not going to give my idea."
Jill Dougherty's exclusive look at how Afghans blend old traditions and modern day justice to establish rule of law.
If the United States leaves Afghanistan prematurely,
the subsequent destabilization in the region will impose a "huge bearing" on relations between the United States and India, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, the
top Republican on military matters, warned Friday.
"Afghanistan has become a major source of tension between the United States and India, for the primary reason that India does not believe we will stay until the job is done," McCain said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
The grease-covered orange overalls can't hide 14-year-old Nazer Ahmad's frail frame. As he leans under the hood of a wrecked car, torn plastic sandals on his feet, I know I cannot possibly understand the life this young boy is forced to lead in war-torn Afghanistan -
where jobs are few, pay is appalling, and young children must work rather than
go to school and play with their friends.
Of all cargo that flows into Afghanistan, about half (50%) transits Pakistan. There are two main border crossings between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Chaman gate and Torkham gate.
About 30 percent of all cargo flows into Afghanistan via the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) and transits Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. There are two major routes on the NDN, one through Russia and the other through the Caucasus. The NDN is used to bring commercial-type cargo (sustainment items like food and spare parts) to U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan.
The NDN does not replace routes through Pakistan, but provides additional transportation options for General Mattis and General Petraeus, and helps prevent any specific route from becoming a single point-of-failure for Operation Enduring Freedom logistics.
The remaining 20 percent of cargo is brought into Afghanistan by air. Most of this cargo is sensitive, which includes such things as weapons, ammunition and critical equipment.
Source: Department of Defense
Maylanie Shorter sleeps with a T-shirt tucked in her pillowcase. It carries the scent of her father's cologne while he's on patrol in Afghanistan.
Her younger sister, Ariana, sleeps with her Daddy Doll - a stuffed soldier that displays a photo of her father across its face.
At 14 and 10, the two girls try to maintain normalcy. They're active in school, they help with dinner, they rally around their mother. And they show no mercy for Pops over the Silver Star he earned by saving several comrades whose armored Humvee was shredded by a roadside bomb. They tease him about a photo of the burned-out vehicle. "How did you take this picture? Weren't you supposed to go get them and help?" Ariana says.
Afghan visitors pose for photos and pretend to sell each other passenger tickets next to a rusty little locomotive in a shattered corner of the Afghan capital.
Built in Germany in 1923, this little engine is all that is left of King Amanullah Khan's effort to modernize Afghanistan by constructing a 7 kilometer-long railroad in downtown Kabul in the 1920s. The locomotive is now a curiosity at the Kabul Museum, standing below the ruins of the former king's battle-scarred palace.
For 24-year old Abil Ahmad, it is the first time he has seen a train in Afghanistan.
"It's a very sad symbol," says the university student. "Unfortunately we don't have a train today."
In fact, the first modern railroad in Afghanistan in nearly a century is nearing completion in the north of the country.