The mountainous nation of Afghanistan has long been coveted by other nations due to its strategic location in Asia. After the mujahideen fought off the Soviet Union in the late 1990's, the Taliban arose as a social and political force, instituting hardline Islamic law throughout the country.
Following the terror attacks of 9/11, US and allied forces invaded Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, pushing the Taliban from official political power. Though the Taliban's influence remains strong outside of Kabul, their power seems to be growing even as President Hamid Karzai struggles to implement a constitution that is only two years old.
On July 2, 2009, just one day after US troops had withdrawn from Iraq, the US Marines launched Operation Khanjar (Strike of the Sword) to take back Taliban strongholds. The intent was to free the region from Taliban warlords and establish an ongoing US presence in the region. On the same day Operation Khanjar was launched a lone US soldier was taken and sold to Taliban militants in Afghanistan.
While the US led battle in Iraq is ending things are heating up for US forces in Afghanistan. Operation Khanjar is the first major military offensive launched under the Obama administration, and the largest Marine airlift offensive since the Vietnam War.
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