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.

Tanks Get Green Makeover as USAREUR Shifts Focus to Europe

Mechanics work on the engine of a U.S. Army Bradley Fighting Vehicle in a motor pool at Coleman Barracks in Mannheim, Germany, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015. (Stars and Stripes/John Vandiver)

MANNHEIM, Germany — Europe-based tanks and other armored vehicles will soon be repainted to woodland green in a strategic shift away from the desert tan that has marked the Army’s fighting vehicles for more than a decade. The vehicles had been painted desert tan for operations in the Middle East; the return to the forest colors coincides with s... more

China Parade Draws Putin, But Few Other Major World Leaders

A girl stands with a bouquet of flowers as people wait for Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro to arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

BEIJING  — Russian leader Vladimir Putin, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon shine at the top of China's guest list at this week's grand commemorations of the 70th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II. After them, the wattage gets pretty low. Beijing says the attendance of 30 overseas leaders fr... more

Green Beret Who Beat Afghan Man Over Child's Rape Faces Army Discharge

Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland

A Green Beret and his allies say the fact that he "stood up to a child rapist" while serving in Afghanistan with an elite Joint Base Lewis-McChord unit shouldn't be grounds for kicking him out of the Army. Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland says he beat up an Afghan police commander he was supposed to be mentoring because he was fed up with the co... more

Afghan President Calls for 'Holy War' Against Corruption

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani speaks to religious leaders during an anti-corruption conference at Amani high school inKabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan's president called for a "holy war" against corruption Tuesday, one of the major problems facing his war-torn country as he tries to improve its economy and create jobs. Ashraf Ghani, who has been in power almost a year, described corruption as a "cancerous lesion" threatening the survival of the state. Speakin... more

Oregon Guardsman Who Helped Stop Train Attack Returns Home

Alek Skarlatos attends a press conference held at the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Paris, France, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. Francois Mori/AP

PORTLAND, Ore. — Ten days ago, Oregon Army National Guard specialist Alek Skarlatos helped stop a terrorist attack on a high-speed train traveling through Belgium. On Sunday night, he returned to Oregon, looking weary and dressed in plaid and khakis. He described the international attention he's received in the meantime as "pretty unreal," repo... more

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