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.

Analysis: South China Sea Ruling Has Fueled Tensions

In this undated file photo, a Chinese H-6K bomber patrols the islands and reefs in the South China Sea. (Liu Rui/Xinhua via AP)

It's a ruling that China cannot accept, and one that the Philippines must. An international arbitration panel's decision on the contested waters of the South China Sea so far is fueling regional tensions rather than tamping them down. In the ensuing 11 days, China has responded to the sweeping victory for the Philippines by flexing its militar... more

Witnesses: Deadly Blast Strikes Demonstration in Kabul

Thousands of demonstrators march towards the center of Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, July 23. (AP Photos/Massoud Hossaini)

KABUL, Afghanistan -- An explosion struck a large demonstration march in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Saturday, causing multiple casualties, according to officials and witnesses. The marchers were ethnic Hazaras demanding that a major regional electric power line be routed through their impoverished home province. Most Hazaras are Shiite Musl... more

Army to Keep Infantry Icon's Awards Unchanged Despite 'Discrepancies'

The late Command Sgt. Major Basil Plumley at the United States Military Academy at West Point on May 10, 2010. (Wikimedia)

U.S. Army awards officials have decided not to amend the military records of Command Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley, despite discrepancies in the late hero's records that cast doubt on the medals that made him a battlefield legend. Army Human Resources Command's review of Plumley's records was prompted when military researcher Brian Siddall alleged th... more

How Being a Solo Parent Made Me a Better Parent

Must-Have Parenting

I write a lot about the challenges of solo parenting, but I rarely talk about the benefits. That's right, benefits. The biggest, most obvious one is that I almost always get to do things my way. Compromise is easy when there's no one around to compromise with. But there's another major benefit to being a Must-Have Parent that I've never writte... more

Trump Triggers Alarms in Europe by Questioning Defense of NATO States

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The three Baltic countries that could be left to the mercies of Russia during a Donald Trump presidency reacted with alarm and disbelief on Thursday to his suggestion that the U.S. might not automatically defend NATO states pursuant to the landmark treaty. "This won't be good for NATO unity or the security situation," said Ojars Kalnins, chairm... more

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