4 Firefight Photos From Afghanistan’s Deadliest Province

In late 2009, President Barack Obama announced a surge of troops in Afghanistan. In the first full year of that operation, 2010, of the nearly 500 U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan, more than half were from Helmand province. It was the deadliest year of the war for American troops and also the deadliest in year in the province.

A Taliban stronghold, Helmand provided a key source of income for the restive insurgency —  opium was the dominant cash crop. In February 2010, coalition forces launched an all-out assault on the city of Marjah, an opium hub in the Taliban’s southern heartland. Its roads and alleys were heavily mined, as were the surrounding fields, and it was defended by die-hard Taliban fighters who flooded the area ahead of the U.S. Marine-led coalition advance.

Related: 5 Incredible Firefight Photos From One Of Afghanistan’s Deadliest Provinces »

What follows are four pictures of the first major operation of the Afghanistan troop surge, taken by Associated Press photographers David Guttenfelder and Brennan Linsley. The images underscore the danger facing American troops and their allies, as well as the courage and resolve required to overcome such odds.

A Marine with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment leaps over a wall during a firefight as Taliban fighters open fire during a Feb. 15, 2010, gunbattle in the town of Marjah.

Associated Press photo by David Guttenfelder

A wounded Marine is rushed to a waiting Black Hawk helicopter for casualty evacuation in Marjah, on Feb. 14, 2010. The soldiers of Task Force Pegasus supported U.S. and coalition forces fighting to break the Taliban’s hold on the city.

Associated Press photo by Brennan Linsley

Marines from 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment open fire on Taliban positions in Marjah during a Feb. 15, 2010 firefight.

Associated Press photo by David Guttenfelder

Marines and Navy corpsmen huddle around a pair of wounded Marines, shielding them from the dust kicked up by a helicopter during a casualty evacuation on Feb. 15, 2010 in Marjah.

Associated Press photo by Brennan Linsley

More from Task & Purpose

Career
7 Veteran-Friendly Manufacturers That Are Hiring
Gear & Tech
The Navy’s Much-Hyped Electromagnetic Railgun May End Up Dead In The Water
Community
The Recruiters: Searching For The Next Generation Of Warfighters In A Divided America
Analysis
Army Buddy: Roy Moore And I Went To A Vietnamese Child Brothel, No Big Deal
Unsung Heroes
UNSUNG HEROES: The Paratroopers Who Killed 265 Insurgents To Defend One Downed Apache
Gear & Tech
Civilian Marksmanship Program Reveals Plan For Sale Of Surplus M1911 Pistols
Back to top