But even as Afghanistan’s north goes to pieces, the U.S. media remains almost exclusively focused on the country’s south. Journalists have flocked to the south to cover the high-profile NATO military campaigns to “retake” Kandahar city and the surrounding areas, as well as a massive campaign to seize the Marja farming area in west-central Helmand. From journalists’ perspective, the high tempo of combat in the south and the region’s centrality to the U.S. grand strategy of counterinsurgency in Afghanistan make it a sexier story than events in the north. For example, a LexisNexis search of the New York Times reveals 90 stories in 2010 that mention Kunduz, Baghlan, Badakhshan, or Balkh — the four most populous provinces in the north. Meanwhile, searching the same time period reveals 182 stories about Helmand, and more than 300 stories for Kandahar.
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