On Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced the deployment of 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. Here, on Feb. 3, Army Sgt. Chris Burger, a member of the Army's 4th Brigade Combat team 25th Infantry Division, sat with his wife Lisa during a deployment ceremony for the brigade in Anchorage, Alaska. The men are being sent to Afghanistan for 12. Al Grillo/AP
US servicement sat inside a C-17 Globemaster waiting for take off for Afghanistan at Manas Air Base near Kyrgyzstan's captial Bishket on Feb. 13. Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters
US Army Pvt. Jeffery Hansen of Bravo Company crouched down after launching a 60mm mortar round on a range at Forward Operating Base Lain in Afghanistan, on Feb. 15. US commander in Afghanistan Gen. David McKiernan told a Pentagon news conference on Wednesday that he welcomed the White House's decision to send more combat troops, but cautioned that fighting will be difficult in the months ahead. Staff Sgt. Adam Mancini/Department of Defense/AP
A US Army soldier hit a golf ball on his forward operating base in Paktika province, along the Afghan-Pakistan border on Nov. 28. David Furst/AFP/NEWSCOM
Afghan boys reacted as they played a game of marbles with a US officer (not shown) in the village of Damman, Kunar Province on Feb. 16. Oleg Popov/Reuters
A US Marine from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit had a close call after Taliban fighters opened fire near Garmser in Helmand Province of Afghanistan, on May 18. The Marine was not injured in the fire fight. Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
US soldiers with Alpha Company surveyed the scene after a roadside bomb attack on one of their armored vehicles in the village of Damman, in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan. Oleg Popov/Reuteres
A medic (top) assisted a dehydrated soldier while on a patrol near an observation point overlooking Combat Outpost Lowell in eastern Afghanistan. Bob Strong/Reuters
A US soldier with Alpha Company took biometric information from a suspected insurgent at a police station near the village of Demman, Kunar Province. Oleg Popov/Reuters
Men tok positions during a patrol at the village of Tutnaw, Kunar Province, on Feb. 10. Oleg Popov/Reuters
Refugees gathered around an Alpha Company soldier at Khas Kunar refugee camp on Wednesday. Oleg Popov/Reuters
Soldiers of the Combined Security Transition Command stood and bowed their heads during a ceremony marking Veterans Day at Camp Eggers in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Nov. 11. Rafiq Maqbool/AP
In May, Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit rested in a hammock made out of netting after an air drop of food and water near the town of Garmser, Helman Province, Afghanistan. David Guttenfelder/AP
During a sandstorm at forward operating base Dwyer in the Helmand province, US Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit played hacky sack. David Guttenfelder/AP
The exchange of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Guantánamo detainees riled House lawmakers, who pressed the Defense secretary to explain why the US had 'negotiated with terrorists' and failed to consult with Congress.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gave a skeptical congressional committee a spirited defense of what he acknowledged was an “imperfect” deal exchanging Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Guantánamo detainees. The deal honored a solemn military commitment to “leave no man behind” while mitigating national security risks to the United States, he said Wednesday.