Down and Dirty

STEVE LISS/GAMMA FOR TIME

A special-ops sergeant trains at Fort Bragg

It was the colors that Hamad Alokzai noticed. The gaunt Afghan, with a beard like matted wool and gaudy silver rings on his fingers, had returned to Afghanistan from exile in Quetta, Pakistan, to check on his former comrades. On Thursday night he sat with his old Taliban commander under blankets in a pickup truck, safely tucked away in the hills outside Kandahar. "The bombs make a sound, then you see green lights falling through the sky," the commander told Alokzai. "The missiles have flashing yellow lights." That night, Alokzai counted 30 missiles striking targets around the city: "It was like...

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