Reuters Full Focus

Africa-based Reuters photographer Finbarr O'Reilly has been going on embeds with Canadian and U.S. forces since 2007, documenting the military struggle in southern Afghanistan. On the war's tenth anniversary, he recounts his experiences covering the daily lives of soldiers and tells of Sir Elton John's interest in one of his images of a dusty Marine. "One of the biggest challenges of being embedded involves finding ways to illustrate the story without showing the Western military in an overly sympathetic or even heroic light. The opening image of this selection feels both honest and representative of the conflict: Despite all their machinery, muscle and technology Western forces have become bogged down in a complex war against a resilient enemy -- insurgents who wear lightweight traditional robes and sandals and fight with Soviet-era or homemade weapons. The physical imbalance is striking. But the Taliban have drawn their Western opponents into a battle of attrition and wills on their home turf. Perhaps the most effective weapon the Taliban has is time. Will Western troops still be there in another 10 years?" 31 PHOTOS

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