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.

Smugglers Busted with Marijuana Mailed to Yokota

Japanese custom officials discovered more than $70,000 worth of marijuana being sent to an APO box at Yokota Air Base. (Michael Dillon/Air Force)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Smugglers used U.S. military mail to bring 3.7 pounds of marijuana into Japan through Yokota Air Base – home of U.S. Forces Japan in western Tokyo, according to U.S. and Japanese officials. “Japanese customs officials at Yokota Air Base discovered marijuana being sent to an APO box in September,” Yokota officials said... more

Dutch Safety Board Buk Missile Downed MH17 in Ukraine

A video shows the launch of a BUK missile, while a part of the reconstructed forward section of the fuselage is displayed behind, during a press conference in Gilze-Rijen, central Netherlands, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands --  Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was destroyed by a Buk surface-to-air missile over eastern Ukraine, the Dutch Safety Board said Tuesday as it presented the results of an official probe into the crash. The missile's Russian maker, however, presented its own report hours earlier, trying to clear Russia-backed separatists wh... more

Insurgents Shell Russian Embassy in Syria during Rally

In this Oct. 12, 2011 file photo, supporters of the Syrian government hold a pro-Russian banner as they show their support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, during a demonstration in Damascus, Syria. (AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman, File)

DAMASCUS, Syria -- Insurgents fired two shells at the Russian embassy in the Syrian capital on Tuesday as hundreds of pro-government supporters gathered outside the compound to thank Moscow for its intervention in Syria. An Associated Press reporter was outside the embassy when the first shell slammed into the compound in central Damascus and s... more

Iran Lawmakers Vote to Implement Nuclear Deal

Some lawmakers get up to talk to head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi after his speech in an open session to discuss a bill on Iran's nuclear deal, at the parliament in Tehran, Iran, Oct. 11, 2015.  (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's parliament voted Tuesday to support implementing a landmark nuclear deal struck with world powers despite hard-line attempts to derail the bill, suggesting the historic accord will be carried out. The bill will be reviewed by Iran's 12-member Guardian Council, a group of senior clerics who could return it to lawmakers for... more

Navy, Families Mark 15th Anniversary of Attack on USS Cole

Port side view showing the damage sustained by the USS Cole on Oct. 12, 2000, after a terrorist bomb exploded during a refueling operation in the port of Aden, Yemen. DoD photo.

NORFOLK, Va. -- It's been a decade since Olivia Rux attended a memorial ceremony for her husband Kevin and the 16 other sailors who were killed in a 2000 terrorist attack on the USS Cole while it was in port in Yemen. But as the Navy marked the 15th anniversary of the attack on Monday, she felt it was time to return to the Cole's home port at N... more

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