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Life goes on in Afghanistan's Helmand province

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

Afghan men gather at a crowded bus stop in the center of Lashkar Gah to catch a bus to Sangin, Afghanistan, the scene of some of the most violent fighting between the Taliban and British and U.S. forces.

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

Afghan women shop in a crowded bazaar in the heart of Lashkar Gah, southern Helmand's provincial capital in Afghanistan. In deeply conservative Helmand women have worn the all encompassing burqas for centuries yet they too say the increasing insecurity makes them afraid even from behind their veils and shopkeepers say burqa sales are up.

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

An Afghan family of five leaves on a single motorbike Marjah, Afghanistan's chaotic one-street bazaar.

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

Afghan girls share a joke in the center of Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

An Afghan man gets a haircut in Marjah, Afghanistan's chaotic one-street bazaar. In southern Helmand province.

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

Afghan men gather in a tea house in the center of Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

An Afghan man waits next to the bed where his sick daughter is treated in the Boot hospital in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, Afghanistan. Only a few hospitals service the entire province, residents often have to travel over dangerous roads to get to the few hospitals located in the capital.

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

An Afghan nomad kisses his young daughter while watching his herd in Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan. They say they are too afraid to go out after dark because of marauding bands of thieves and during the day corrupt police and government officials bully them into paying bribes.

More than ten years after the beginning of the war, Afghanistan faces external pressure to reform as well as ongoing internal conflicts.

In southern Helmand province, one of Afghanistan's deadliest battlefields, angry residents say 11 years of war has brought them widespread insecurity. Development that was promised hasn't materialized and the Taliban's rule is often said to be preferred.

A report by the British Parliament's International Development Committee says that even the gains made by women after the Taliban were ousted were slipping, citing a recent statement by Afghan President Karzai, instructing  women to travel only when chaperoned by a man and to refrain from mixing with men in education and at work.

Photos for this blog post were shot Oct. 20 - 23 by Associated Press's Anja Niedringhaus, and made available to NBC News today.

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