Operation Enduring Freedom: A look back in photos

With the curtain coming down on combat operations, Stars and Stripes is looking back at the U.S. troops who have fought in the war, what they encountered, and how they coped. We present three photo galleries featuring the work of our photographers and reporters who have covered the war in Afghanistan.



US forces pack up

Pakistan fears military funds under scrutiny amid Trump aid cuts

Since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, Pakistan has received billions of dollars in U.S. military aid while providing supply lines for its invasion of Afghanistan. Any further cut in U.S. military aid, which includes direct financing and training to Pakistan’s powerful army, would be an added blow to the nation’s widening current account and fiscal deficits.


Reports from SIGAR

Afghans reshuffle military leadership to thwart Taliban gains

Leadership changes made throughout the winter should give Afghan security forces a boost on the battlefield this year, according to Afghan and U.S. military officials, who say better leaders are essential to stemming recent gains by the Taliban.

Congress created the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) to provide independent and objective oversight of Afghanistan reconstruction projects and activities.


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Mosul airstrike potentially among worst US-led civilian bombings in 25 years

Even though Iraqi civil defense workers are still sorting through the rubble, the March 17 U.S. airstrike in West Mosul, if confirmed, could potentially rank among one of the most devastating attacks on civilians by American forces in more than two decades.

2 years after brutal killing that shocked Afghanistan, outrage has faded

From the steps of the old, blue-domed shrine, if you look past the families feeding pigeons on the plaza below and the lines of clogged traffic beyond, you can glimpse the stark, white stone monument two blocks away, rising from a platform next to the street.

Pakistan starts building fence along Afghan border

The two countries share a 1,500-mile border known as the Durand Line, which was drawn during colonial times and is not recognized by the Afghan government.

Pentagon: An al-Qaida leader killed in Afghanistan airstrike

A U.S. counterterrorism airstrike earlier this month in Afghanistan killed an al-Qaida leader responsible for a deadly hotel attack in Islamabad in 2008 and the 2009 attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team, the Pentagon said Saturday.

Afghanistan wooed a fugitive warlord, aiming to lure the Taliban, too. Now the warlord's deal is stuck.

He is a ghost with a blood-soaked past, a man with so many enemies that even his closest aides, trying to orchestrate his return to the Afghan capital he once attacked, coyly insist they have no idea where he is.

Pakistan's new ambassador seeks warm relations with Trump administration

Pakistan's new ambassador to the United States, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, has only been in his post for 12 days, but already is busy trying to explain the profound changes in Washington to his government in Islamabad.

US turns down Russia's invitation to Afghan peace conference

The United States won't attend a multinational peace conference on Afghanistan next month in Russia. The reasons: The U.S. wasn't consulted before receiving the invitation and doesn't know Russia's objectives for the gathering.

Top US general in Europe says Russia might be supplying the Taliban

The top U.S. general in Europe told lawmakers Thursday that Russia and the Taliban are growing increasingly close, suggesting that the Kremlin might even be supplying the insurgent group.

US pilot describes challenges of bombing Islamic State

The crowded skies over Islamic State-held territory have complicated U.S.-led airstrikes targeting the extremists, though military planners are working to keep fliers safe, an American pilot involved in the bombing campaign has told The Associated Press.

Critics say scrapping Mi-17 fleet could undermine Afghan air force

U.S. Air Force Capt. Justin Smith is one of a few Americans trained to fly and work on the Mil Mi-17s. He does so for basically one reason — to pass the knowledge on to Afghans. His work is part of broader NATO efforts to help build a sustainable Afghan air force, which is seen as vital for Kabul to counter the Taliban insurgency.

Taliban forces seize strategic district in embattled Helmand province

Taliban insurgents captured a key district center in embattled Helmand Province on Thursday, Afghan officials said, while Afghan troops were evacuated from the area and Air Force planes bombed military installations there to prevent the Taliban from using them.

Aid group says millions of Afghan children are not in school

Nearly a third of all children in war-torn Afghanistan are unable to attend school, leaving them at increased risk of child labor, recruitment by armed groups, early marriage and other forms of exploitation, an aid group said Thursday.

Pakistani troops clash with militants near Afghan border

Pakistan's military says troops have clashed with militants during a raid in a tribal region near the Afghan border, with two soldiers and five "terrorists" killed.

Afghanistan wants more US help in fight against Taliban, Islamic State

Afghanistan wants the United States to send more forces to help meet shortfalls in the battle against the Taliban and the Islamic State group, the nation's top diplomat said Tuesday.


Female troops in Iraq focus on the job, ‘not our gender’

U.S. troops here say the fight is different now than it was more than a decade ago, the last time some of them were here.

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