There was a sound like a thunderclap and a column of debris curled into the sky two blocks away. A platoon of Australian soldiers, lounging in their makeshift camp at a boys’ school in this impoverished capital of Uruzgan province on June 16, leaped to their feet, scrambled to strap on body armor and fumbled with weapons—their eyes drawn to the thickening pall of smoke spreading from the blast. The signals sergeant was radio­ing for information; the platoon leader, Lt. Cliff, who like many ...

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