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.

More Female Drill Sergeants Help Change Army's Cadence

Staff Sgt. Zandra Santana, an Army reservist, packs her gear at the Central Issue Facility. Santana is a mobilized drill sergeant on Fort Leonard Wood for six months as part of a program to place more female drill sergeants into training units. Army photo

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- The platoon of 70 greenhorn soldiers rested on the barracks tile floor during a recent evening of Army basic combat training, while their drill sergeant, Megan Slone, gave a final lesson for the day about how to sight a rifle. Half of the soldiers had never shot a gun before, which was fine with Slone. That meant fewer... more

1,000 82nd Airborne Paratroopers Headed to Iraq This Week

82nd Airborne members unload gear

The 82nd Airborne, and more specifically its 3rd Brigade Combat Team, are no strangers to Iraq. Since 2003, parts of the brigade have deployed in support of U.S. efforts there on at least three occasions. Now, more than three years after the U.S. military presence in Iraq was thought over, about a quarter of the Panther Brigade will return wit... more

Complaints Challenge Limits on Guantanamo Female Guards

In this Dec. 6, 2006, file photo, a shackled detainee is transported by guards away from his annual Administrative Review Board hearing with U.S. officials, at Camp Delta detention center, Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba. Brennan Llinsley/AP

FORT MEADE, Maryland — Some female soldiers at the Guantanamo Bay prison have filed equal opportunity complaints challenging court orders barring them from jobs that would require touching detainees while escorting them to hearings and attorney-client meetings, a military judge said Monday. The two complaints filed with the Defense Department'... more

Danish Archer Takes Aim at 'Hollywood Archery' Myths

lars andersen archer

A Danish archer posted a YouTube video showing how he busted the myth of Hollywood archery" by rediscovering ancient techniques. Lars Anderson , whose archery video went viral with more than 4.5 million views in its first 24 hours on YouTube, demonstrated in the video how he used ancient depictions of archers and written accoun... more

2 Marines Identified in Deadly California Helicopter Crash

3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (DoD photo)

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif.  — Two Marine Corps officers killed when their helicopter crashed during a training exercise in the Southern California desert were remembered Sunday as talented pilots. Capt. Elizabeth Kealey and 1st Lt. Adam Satterfield died from injuries in the crash Friday at the Twentynine Palms Marine base. They were the only two ... more

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