What Happened When I Was Ambushed By The Taliban

Each week, we bring you an incredible experience from someone who lived it. In this edition, former U.S. army medic Adam Linehan tells us what happened when the Taliban attacked — and the only way out was a path you’d never take unless you absolutely had to.

Soldier In Afhganistan

A soldier fires an M4 while battling insurgents in Barge Matal, Afghanistan, 2009. Image Source: Flickr

In the summer of 2010, 25-year-old Adam Linehan arrived in Afghanistan for the first time. Deployed as a medic for an infantry platoon with the 101st Airborne, he soon found himself, with around 25 other soldiers, on a tiny, desolate outpost in Kandahar.

“It was part of the big troop surge mission,” Linehan explains, referring to President Obama’s much-publicized plan to insert a further 30,000 troops into the area in an effort to turn the tide of the war. “We were the tip of the spear. Kandahar was historically the spiritual heartland of the Taliban, so we were running daily and nightly patrols through the villages in the surrounding area.”

The landscape came as a shock to the newly arrived American soldiers. Surrounded by grape fields, pomegranate orchards, and goat herders, the outpost sat in an area of flat farmland with no electricity or running water. “It looked like a picture you’d see in a children’s bible,” marvels Linehan.

Outside the front gate of the outpost lay a barren field, broken up by a few low, crumbling stone walls. On the far side of that field, just a few hundred meters away, was the Taliban.

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What’s The Happiest Country On Earth?

You’ll read and share plenty of stories claiming to have uncovered the happiest country in the world (or state in the U.S., and so on). By now, there’s a veritable cottage industry of such stories. But in the last few years, during which these stories became commonplace, one study stands out in terms of authority: the World Happiness Report.

Produced annually since 2012 by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the report uses a multifaceted polling system to create an overall happiness score (on a scale of 0 to 10) for each country (see more on the methodology below).

Whatever you make of its methods and its validity, the World Happiness Report is most likely the best of its kind in determining the happiest country in the world — and much, much more. We’ve combed through the most recent report to answer all the big questions you may have about happiness around the world…

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