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.

AC-130 Crew Members, Ground Troops Punished for Kunduz Hospital Strike

Fires burn in part of the Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital in Kanduz, Afghanistan, after it was hit by an air strike on October 3, 2015 Photo: Medecins Sans Frontieres via Agence France Press

Several U.S. Special Operations air and ground team members have been suspended  for a stunning and fatal series of mistakes that resulted in an AC-130 gunship repeatedly hitting the wrong target in the Kunduz hospital strike last month that killed 30 people, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan said Wednesday. "No nation does more to prevent c... more

Soldiers from 82nd CAB Celebrate Fall Fest

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As he bumbled around the cockpit of the Kiowa helicopter Tuesday, 6-year-old Nick Furr called for his parents to make sure they were watching. He slowed down only to ask questions, which his dad, Fort Bragg Spc. Byron Furr, happily answered. Although fleeting, the moment was precious for the Furr family -- Bryon, Sarah, Nick and Zoey, -- as th... more

West Point Bans Cadet Pillow Fight after 30 Injured

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WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Cadet pillow fights like the bloody one that left 30 injured this summer will be banned and actions are being pursued against many of those involved, U.S. Military Academy officials said Wednesday. First-year students, known as "plebes," organize the annual pillow fight as a way to build camaraderie after a grueling summer o... more

As Troop Rotations in Baltics Increase, So Do Holidays Away from Home

U.S. European Command's Gen. Philip Breedlove addresses U.S. soldiers on a training mission on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, in Estonia, where the commander held a town hall meeting with troops. (John Vandiver/Stars and Stripes)

TAPA TRAINING GROUND, Estonia -- For Staff Sgt. Steven Daughtrey, a three-month deployment to this swampy base on NATO's eastern edge has been one of adaptation. First, there was the challenge of food -- a carb-heavy Estonian diet with thick stews of mystery meat. Then there was the austere training ground, where firing ranges aren't rea... more

Putin Warns of Payback for Turkey Downing Russian Warplane

This frame grab from video by Haberturk TV, shows smoke from a Russian warplane after crashing on a hill as seen from Hatay province, Turkey, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. (Haberturk TV via AP)

The downing of a Russian Su-24 attack aircraft by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet on Tuesday posed the threat of more dogfights over Syria and dashed French hopes of a "grand coalition" with the U.S. and Russia to combat the Islamic State. Russian President Vladimir Putin immediately called the incident over the eastern Turkish-Syrian border a "... more

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