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Soldiers surrounded by a starry sky in Afghanistan

The views of the stars can be amazing out in the Afghan provinces. The nights get cold and sometimes a few minutes to stare at the heavens can be a welcome distraction from otherwise tense surroundings. The beauty of the landscape, and of the people, conflicts with the turmoil that grips the country. While it's been a few years since I was there, this image brings back some vivid memories.

For more images from Afghanistan check out our ongoing slideshow of the country and the deployment of U.S. troops as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.