The Atlantic

Caught in the Crosshairs: Was He a Farmer or Taliban?

Maybe the wounded man was an innocent farmer. Maybe not. For the American soldiers, determining the truth seemed nearly impossible.

ARGHANDAB VALLEY, AFGHANISTAN -- The gray-bearded man pushed his wheelbarrow through the field, past the coils of concertina wire and toward the American combat outpost that was home to a platoon of 82nd Airborne paratroopers. In the wheelbarrow lay a man he claimed was his brother, the lower half of his white kamees stained bright red. Blood seeped from a golf ball-sized hole in his leg.

Four Afghan National Policemen walked toward the gate to investigate. One of them spoke to the two men, then

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