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Twenty kilometers a year: On the front lines in Afghanistan

In a discussion with Need to Know’s Jon Meacham this week, Tom Gregg of the Center for International Cooperation suggested that the United States will ultimately have to negotiate with the Taliban in order to restore peace and security to Afghanistan. But that idea will likely be difficult, if not impossible, to sell to the American people — if the administration is even willing to try.

Note: This video can only be viewed in the U.S.

After all, the U.S. has been in Afghanistan almost nine years, with the original stated purpose to root out the Taliban as well as Al Qaeda. And now, with 30,000 additional troops in place, sent there this year by President Obama, the fighting goes on, and the casualty rate has risen at a disheartening pace.

With that in mind, we bring you a report from southern Afghanistan, on the front lines of Helmand and Kandahar provinces. There, Sean Smith, a reporter from London’s Guardian newspaper, embedded with a small specialist unit of U.S. parajumpers and marines: Lima Company, third battalion, first regiment. The marines you’re about to see were patrolling out of forward operating base Karma, pushing south to secure an area towards the town of Safar Bazaar in Helmand province, thought to be an insurgency stronghold. Smith brought back some incredible images of the conflict, which are violent, dramatic and at times graphic.