Army photo by Sgt. Kimberly Trumbull

On Jan. 20, six gunmen armed with AK-47s and grenades stormed the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan. Over the next 14 hours, the assailants waged a fierce battle with Afghan security forces that left 43 people dead, according to local news. It was just one of multiple attacks across the country over the weekend, as U.S.-led forces increase their efforts against an increasingly brazen insurgency. But the Pentagon was scrambling to avert another crisis: rescuing tens of thousands of troops overseas from the threat of missing an NFL conference title game on TV.

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