Second Place | Multiple Photos
Andrew Craft, The Fayetteville Observer
Judge's Comments: Really well done reporting. Nice visual variety and clean images.
On looks alone, Afghanistan has not changed much over the past few years.
Military outposts still dot the country, and the landscape, marked by sweeping deserts and towering mountains, is as picturesque as ever.
But for Fort Bragg soldiers in Afghanistan - many of whom are combat-tested veterans - the country has changed.
Afghanistan is still a war zone. But it is not the war it was, even for those who were there as recently as two years ago.
By year's end, fewer than 10,000 American troops will remain in the country, according to Obama. And that number would be cut in half by the end of 2015 and continue to shrink until, by 2016, only a small contingent of troops will remain at the U.S. Embassy and as part of a security assistance office.
In the meantime, Fort Bragg soldiers are playing key roles as forces prepare for the transition from Operation Enduring Freedom to Operation Resolute Support, a change in mission that will mark the end of combat operations.