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Mukhtar is an infantryman in Afghanistan's rebel army. He can shoot a man in the beard from a standing position at 200 m or point out camouflaged Taliban bunkers through miles of dust. His platoon leader says the green-eyed soldier is the finest he has ever commanded, and Mukhtar takes the compliment with a shrug of his skinny shoulders. "I have been in the army for a long time," he says. "So I should be good at my job." Indeed, Mukhtar is a four-year veteran of Afghanistan's draining desert war. But he is only 15 years old.