The Quest for Fugitives

As U.S. troops step up their manhunt—and suffer casualties—the war's endgame raises some tough questions

JOHNNY BIVERA/U.S. NAVY/AP

The U.S. hunkers down for a grinding search

If you were looking to disappear, the Afghan province of Helmand would be the place to do it. Hundreds of miles of desert, hills and mountains are interrupted only by the occasional huddle of mud-brick houses. The remote village of Musa Qal'eh in Helmand is still Taliban country. When Kandahar fell last month, as many as 1,500 Taliban fighters and their leaders are thought to have passed through the village. One of them may have been Mullah Mohammed Omar, the former ruler of Afghanistan and America's second-most-wanted man.

Last week there were other visitors. Five four-wheel-drive vehicles carrying...

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