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.

Ventura Won't See 'American Sniper'; Says Kyle is No Hero

Jesse Ventura

MINNEAPOLIS  — "American Sniper" is tops at the box office but don't expect to see former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura lining up at a theater for it. Ventura, a former Navy SEAL, won $1.8 million in a defamation lawsuit last year against the estate of the late Chris Kyle, the SEAL protagonist of the movie, which has sparked debate over whether ... more

After Treason Comment, Senator Asks AF Chief about 'Reverse' Probe

Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III (left) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. (right).  JOE GROMELSKI/STARS AND STRIPES

WASHINGTON — Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh faced tough questioning Wednesday in the Senate over whether the service is investigating airmen who have spoken to Congress about the planned retirement of the A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said she was told about the internal probes after the two-star vice commander... more

Tape: Scientist Offers to Build Nuke Bomb Targeting New York

This Oct. 22, 2009, file photo shows former Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear physicist Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni on his back deck in Los Alamos, N.M. (AP Photo/Heather Clark, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.  — A disgruntled, former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist promised to build 40 nuclear weapons for Venezuela in 10 years and design a bomb targeted for New York City in exchange for "money and power," according to secret FBI recordings released Wednesday. In the recordings, Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni tells an agent posi... more

Raul Castro: US Must Return Guantanamo for Normal Relations

Cuba's President Raul Castro listens on a headphone during the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States in Costa Rica, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Presidency of the Republic of Costa Rica, Roberto Carlos Sanchez)

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica  — Cuban President Raul Castro demanded on Wednesday that the United States return the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, lift the half-century trade embargo on Cuba and compensate his country for damages before the two nations re-establish normal relations. Castro told a summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean St... more

Japan Says It Trusts Jordan to Help Islamic State Hostage

This still image taken from a video posted on YouTube by jihadists on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, purports to show a still photo of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto holding what appears to be a photo of Jordanian pilot 1st Lt. Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh. (AP Photo)

TOKYO  — Japan said it was putting its trust in Jordan to help gain the release of a Japanese journalist held by Islamic State militants, after the latest message purportedly from his captors extended until sundown Thursday in the Middle East the deadline for the Jordanians to release an Iraqi prisoner. The message, read in English by a voice t... more

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