Afghanistan

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.

Survey: VA Health Care Works Once Vets Get Seen

VA plaque

Military.com | Jul 24, 2014

A survey of Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans finds that most who are receiving mental health care are "overwhelmingly satisfied" with the care, no matter if it's from the Department of Veterans Affairs or an outside provider. The finding is included in the 2014 survey of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America released on Thursday during a... more

Democrats Stand by Senator Amid Plagiarism Claim

Sen. John Walsh

Associated Press | Jul 24, 2014

HELENA, Mont.  — Sen. John Walsh said his unattributed use of others' work in his master's thesis was not plagiarism but "a few citations that were unintentionally left out of a term paper" that he blamed in part on post-Iraq war trauma. The apparent plagiarism first reported by The New York Times on Wednesday was the second potentially damagin... more

Iraq: Attack on Prisoner Convoy Kills 60 People

Iraq Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki

Associated Press | Jul 24, 2014

BAGHDAD  — Gunmen attacked a prisoner convoy north of Baghdad on Thursday, setting off a gunbattle with troops in which scores of prisoners and eight soldiers were killed, brutally underscoring Iraq's instability as lawmakers convened to elect a new president. U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon arrived in Baghdad earlier Thursday, urging lawmakers to "find... more

Panel: US Missed Chances to Head Off Islamic State

fighters from ISIL

Stars and Stripes | Jul 24, 2014

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration missed key opportunities over the past six months to beat back the Islamic State assault on Iraq with targeted drone strikes, lawmakers on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Wednesday. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., committee chairman, said he and others in the State Department urged U.S. strikes on the al-... more

Gaza Fighting Rages as US Pushes for Cease-fire

Israeli Blackhawk

Associated Press | Jul 24, 2014

GAZA, Palestine - Israeli tanks and warplanes bombarded the Gaza Strip on Thursday, as Hamas militants stuck to their demand for the lifting of an Israeli and Egyptian blockade amid U.S. efforts to reach a cease-fire. The 16-day conflict has claimed the lives of 718 Palestinians, most of them civilians, Palestinian health officials say. Israel ... more

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