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Deep within the treacherous terrain of the Uzbin Valley, young soldiers of the French International Security Assistance Force had a mission to fulfill: to take the valley, the same valley that saw a dozen French soldiers killed in an ambush by Afghan militants in August 2008. During the course of six months, the troops took the valley and every last village within, using what little mental and physical strength they had left. Not once during this time had they used their weapons, nor had they seen a Taliban. There had been an occassional attack upon them, but no one knew from where. Most days, the valley was hauntingly still, like a ghost, heightening the tension and fear of confrontation--as though scenes from Dino Buzatti's "The Tartar Steppe" had come to life.