On June 12, 2012, U.S. soldier Matt Krumwiede was on patrol in Afghanistan when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) which tore away both his legs, damaged his left arm, and ripped open his abdominal cavity. Reuters photographer Shamil Zhumatov took pictures of the aftermath of the explosion. Since the incident, the 22-year-old soldier has undergone around 40 surgeries and is learning to walk with prosthetic legs, a process that Reuters photographer Jim Urquhart has documented. Krumwiede is keen to re-join the infantry as soon as his injuries allow.
U.S. troops have been in Afghanistan since 2001. Thousands of Afghan elders gathered in Kabul on November 21, 2013 at a Loya Jirga, or grand council, to debate a crucial security pact with the United States, a day after Kabul and Washington reached a draft agreement laying out the terms under which U.S. troops may stay beyond 2014.(REUTERS)