Mohammed Absullah Al-Walid, 24, deputy commander of Zinjibar’s ‘Popular Committee’ with his fighters. Popular Committees–armed groups of citizens who rose against al-Qaeda–were key to the Yemeni government’s ability to reclaim Abyan province.
TIME contract photographer Yuri Kozyrev and editor-at-large Bobby Ghosh traveled to southern Abyan province in Yemen for this week’s cover story in TIME International. Here, Ghosh recounts their travels with a Yemeni Central Security Force (CSF) patrol through territory plagued by al-Qaeda.
See more photos here.