US Army Captain Michael Kolton knows the rugged mountains of Afghanistan's northern Kunar province all too well.
Until April, he was the commander at Combat Outpost Monti near Afghanistan's border area with Pakistan. Kolton's men battled many foes in the lush valleys along the Kunar River.
Among their enemies was a legendary local insurgent leader named Massoud.
The fighting didn't deter 29-year-old Kolton who had set out to forge alliances with local leaders and reach out to insurgents.
The commander says he started that process by creating a setting where he and his men could shoot less, and talk more.