Taliban Safari: One Day in the Surkhagan

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A moment-by-moment account of a one-day mission to track down and kill Taliban insurgents in the Zabul Province of southeastern Afghanistan. Signed by author.

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“We aren’t home yet,” Major Paul Darling reminds his team at the end of a sixteen-hour day. “Two more miles and we are done. We have pissed off a lot of Taliban today, and they are going to want payback.” Shortly, the major will find himself sitting on a concrete basketball court next to the bunker where the day started so long ago, talking by satellite phone to his wife on the other side of the world. When she asks, “What happened?” there is too much to say. But one day, he promises himself, he will put into words what it was like–one day in the life of a combat soldier in Afghanistan in 2009.