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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.

Hagel Promises More Non-Lethal Aid to Ukraine

Ukrainians with the national flag gather in support of a united Ukraine in Donetsk, Ukraine, Thursday, April 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) | Apr 17, 2014

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel pledged more non-lethal U.S. aid to Ukraine's military Thursday while sidestepping a decision on Poland's call for "American boots on Polish ground." Hagel spoke at the Pentagon as negotiators in Geneva agreed on a joint statement for defusing the crisis that Secretary of State John Kerry said could "open the d... more

Fort Bragg Paratroopers Stand Watch in Afghanistan

Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer | Apr 17, 2014

The soldiers of 2nd Battalion now aim to prevent those types of attacks. While others meet with Afghan forces, the paratroopers search for signs of danger and stand prepared for the worst. Lt. Col. Andrew Zieseniss, commander of 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, said his soldiers complete roughly 20 missions each day, driving of... more

Militia Leader Pleads Guilty to ID Theft

Associated Press | Apr 16, 2014

A self-described militia commander from Minnesota who was charged with stealing identification information from members of his former Army unit at Fort Bragg in North Carolina has pleaded guilty to identity theft. Prosecutors say Keith Michael Novak, of Maplewood, planned to use the stolen information to make fake IDs for members of his militia... more

Air Force General Backs A-10 Retention

A10 Warthog over land

The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson | Apr 16, 2014

A top Air Force official had one word to describe the proposed cuts threatening to ground the A-10 fleet. "Heinous." Rep. Ron Barber relayed the comments from Gen. Michael Hostage, the commander of the Air Combat Command, shortly after the pair toured Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to discuss the fate of the iconic attack aircraft known as the W... more

Grand Forks Air Force Base to Consolidate Schools

 | Apr 16, 2014

Several years of discussion over the potential consolidation of Grand Forks Air Force Base schools came to a close Tuesday after the base School Board voted in favor of the decision, the savings of which will eliminate district deficit. Students who formerly attended Carl Ben Eielson Elementary School will start the upcoming school year at Nath... more

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