To its credit The Atlantic regularly publishes photo galleries at In Focus on the continuing war in Afghanistan, reminding us of the lives of regular Afghanis, and of the troops stationed there, in a conflict which many would prefer to forget.
The intro to the latest gallery:
After the end of the surge, and with France accelerating its troop withdrawal, the number of NATO forces in Afghanistan is beginning to drop. Fewer than 70,000 American troops remain in the country now, and the Afghan National Army has grown to nearly 200,000 soldiers. However, the desertion and attrition rates among Afghan soldiers is extremely high, jeopardizing the future of the current government as NATO heads toward its drawdown in 2014. The current war in Afghanistan has become a political talking point in the presidential election, yet there are hundreds of thousands for whom it is part of daily life, and has been for more than a decade.
And here, Band-e Amir lake, on the outskirts of Bamiyan, photographed on October 23, 2012:
In a spectacular valley swept by centuries of Silk Road history, the hopes and fears of Afghanistan's only female governor capture the mood across the country as Western troops prepare to withdraw. Habiba Sarobi's hope springs from the transformation of Bamiyan province from a place of massacres and oppression of women under Taliban Islamists to one where most people live in peace and young girls flock to school.
Band-e Amir was to become Afghanistan's first national park in the 1960s, but due to the instability of the Kabul government at the time, this did not happen. In 2004, Band-e Amir was submitted for recognition as a World Heritage site. In 2009, Band-e Amir was finally declared Afghanistan's first national park.