Staff Sgt. Mario Tenario, Company A, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division trains Afghan National Army soldiers how to inspect equipment.

Considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world, Afghanistan has been wracked by continuous war for over three decades. The U.S., U.K., Australia, France, and Afghan United Front began Operation Enduring Freedom on October 7th, 2001 in response to the September 11th attacks in the U.S. The mission focused on the the overthrow of the Taliban government, as well as the ouster of Al Qaida and it leaders, including Osama Bin Laden. With over a decade of combat, it has become the second longest war in the U.S. history. The conflict has resulted in over two thousand U.S. troops killed.

With the death of Bin Laden, the U.S. is formulating plans for withdrawal from the region. President Obama has announced an end to combat operations, but an unknown number of troops will likely remain in the country after the 2014 deadline. Afghanistan is currently seeking financial assistance from other countries to assist in the reconstruction process.

Afghanistan has been populated for millennia, seeing the rise and fall of empires, kingdoms, and religions. Islam -- which influences much of its current culture and politics -- is the most popular religion in the region. The current estimated population is over 30 million, with Pashtun and Tajik as the two largest ethnicities.

Small-Town Army NCO Shaped by Family, War, Football

American flag

FORT MEADE, Md. -- Russ Currie had not yet been born when his uncle, Jerry Lee Patrick, was killed in Vietnam. An icon in his hometown of Eustis, Florida, Patrick was an accomplished football player, who had wanted to join the Army since he was a kid. At the high school's traditional "class night" the week of graduation, the somewhat reserved t... more

Storied Airborne Unit Returns to Europe for NATO Exercise

More than 1,200 paratroopers dropped into Hohenfels, Germany's training area Aug. 26, 2015. They are part of Swift Response 15, a U.S. Army-led NATO training exercise involving 11 nations and more than 4,800 troops. (Michael S. Darnell/Stars and Stripes)

HOHENFELS, Germany — Two massive groups of paratroops, separated by hundreds of miles of countryside, conducted airdrops Wednesday as part of the largest NATO airborne exercise in Europe since the end of the Cold War. More than 1,200 paratroops from eight nations, including American troops from the 82nd Airborne Division, parachuted into Hohenf... more

US Drone Strike in Syria Reportedly Kills Top ISIS Online Recruiter

ISIS propaganda image

A U.S. drone strike in Syria Tuesday reportedly killed a fugitive British computer hacker who had become one of ISIS' top online recruiters. The Wall Street Journal reported the death of Junaid Hussein late Wednesday, citing two people familiar with the operation. The officials said that Hussein was killed by a targeted airstrike near the Syria... more

Airmen Killed in Possible Insider Attack Identified as Special Ops

Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and Staff Sgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31. (US AIR FORCE)

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The two servicemembers killed in southern Afghanistan Wednesday by a shooter in an Afghan uniform were Air Force special operations troops, the Pentagon said Thursday. Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and Staff Sgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, were shot and killed Wednesday by a lone gunman dressed in an Afghan uniform. He opened f... more

National Guard Medic Awarded State's Top Military Honor for Heroism

New York Army National Guard Major Gen. Patrick Murphy presents the New York State Medal for Valor to Staff Sgt. Marlana Watson. (U.S. Army/Sgt. J.P. Lawrence)

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Staff Sgt. Marlana Watson was spending a quiet night at her Syracuse home playing video games when the New York Army National Guard medic and Afghan War veteran, heard gunshots coming from the street outside. Watson checked on her sleeping 5-year-old son and rushed outside. There were two boys down on the lawn across the s... more

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