U.S. and Afghan forces are fighting to gain control of a major crossroads in Afghanistan, where NPR photographer David Gilkey has been embedded with U.S. troops. He was with a patrol when it came under fire this week.
While the American public and some White House officials would like to see more troop reductions as 2012 ends and 2013 begins, Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti says it's likely troop levels will need to hold steady "through the first part of the year."
U.S. soldiers are trying to deal a crippling blow to the Taliban in the eastern Afghan province of Ghazni. It's one of the last major Taliban strongholds, but the American forces are trying to do the job on a short timetable.
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