This photographic essay on the bloody conflict in Kashmir is from European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) photographer Altaf Qadri: For decades, neither Pakistan nor India wanted a solution to the Kashmir standoff because the existence of an external enemy enabled both sides, when it suited them, to divert attention from domestic problems. How could you demand food, work, security or freedoms when the nation is under threat? That argument wins every time. While politicians were winning, Kashmiris were paying a terrible price in pain and are torn apart, physically, emotionally, legally and financially. A fertile valley which once was called "Paradise on Earth" becomes a dangerous place to live, its harvest merely razor wire and mines. Indian authorities argue that abuses by their forces are rare and those responsible are punished. But in fact official investigations are infrequent, punishments, if any, are light, and the practices continue. While some abuses, particularly indiscriminate shootings of civilians and reprisal killings, were worse in the early years of the insurgency, summary executions of persons taken into custody have never abated and have even increased during periodic counterinsurgency operations. The Kashmir conflict has claimed more than 60,000 lives, according to Indian officials. Separatists and Pakistan put the death toll at between 80,000 and 100,000.
From Timothy Floyd: I had the privilege of serving during the initial phases of Operation Iraqi Freedom as an orthopedic surgeon in U. S. Army's 934th Forward Surgical Team. We traveled at the front with various brigades treating, not only wounded coalition forces, but Iraqi civilians, soldiers, Republican and Special Republican Guard, as well as Fedayeen terrorists. Initially, we treated the wounded in our canvas surgical tent. As the war progressed, we made unescorted humanitarian missions to homes, villages, hospitals, and camps, including a "black mission" to treat wounded Iranian MEK soldiers. My photographs tell the story of what I saw and felt, and the uncommon empathy, courage and humanity I witnessed. My experience was much different that what is usually portrayed in the American media, but is consistent with most accounts of men and women who have been to Iraq or who are there now. The Iraqi people are just like anyone else worldwide; most of them only want a peaceful life and the freedom to work, study, play and raise a family. (More of Dr. Floyd's photographs can be found here.)
CPT. Bryan Moore attends a post-op wounded Iraqi woman.
A boy wounded near Baghdad by a grenade his brother set off.
CPT Charlotte Lee attends a wounded Iraqi Republican Guard soldier.
An Iraqi man brings a sick child to an American Army doctor near Balad
Zuma Press photographer Bill Putnam has filed new photos in his gallery from Operation Swarmer, a combined US/Iraqi military sweep in the Sunni-dominated areas north of Baghdad. Recent news stories can be found here, here and here. From Putnam: "The operation -- billed as the largest air assault since the March 2003 invasion -- lifted 1,500 Americans and Iraqi soldiers in to extremes of barren desert and lush farm lands. Whatever the terrain, they looked for weapons caches and insurgents. Sometimes, they found them. More often than not, they didn't. While this operation was a sign of the (almost glacially) slow growth of the Iraqi army, it was also a sign the insurgency is still active and will take some time to crack."
Fyi: It has just been reported that Zuma Press contract photographer Toby Morris was shot twice by snipers last week in Ramadi, Iraq, and received serious but non-life-threatening injuries. He was on patrol with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion of 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Here's the rest of the E&P story.
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