As the U.S. prepares to withdraw from the longest war in its history, a look at the lives changed, promises made, and ideas shaped by war in Afghanistan.

More Stories from this Issue

Interactive Timeline: War in Afghanistan

Zack Stanton

If you want to understand the U.S. War in Afghanistan, place it in a larger historical context: Afghanistan's 35-year civil war.

Afghanistan’s Illusion of Hope

Michael Kugelman

Despite our best efforts at optimism, Afghanistan is in for a rough ride in the months ahead.

“I heard the screams for medic. This was on Mother's Day.”

Zack Stanton

U.S. veterans give their firsthand stories of life & war in Afghanistan.

What Democracy Looks Like, According to Three Afghan women

Norwan, Mariam, and Nasima

Three Afghan women write about violence and shelter, the Taliban, and getting to vote.

Viewfinder: Afghanistan

Zack Stanton

An assortment of the best photos of life in Afghanistan in all its many facets.

Michael Rhoads’ Long Road Home

Jess Ruliffson

An injured Marine stuck inside Walter Reed yearns for the action of Afghanistan.

From Flames to Fury

Carol Burke

The 2011 burning of a sacred Quran in Florida provoked a deadly, little known, and massively misunderstood maelstrom in Afghanistan.

Whatever happened to Yale’s Taliban Freshman?

Rebecca White

In 2006, we first learned of a former Taliban spokesman studying at Yale. Eight years later, we follow up for the rest of the story.

Short Docs: Strides During Strife

Jessica Bal

How have the wars in Afghanistan & Iraq changed life for amputees? A short documentary film explores.

What does it mean for a video game to be moral?

Caitlin Moniz

Traditionally, games lead players to think strategically, not ethically. That's changing in the era of "Grand Theft Auto."

Want to alleviate poverty? Give cash directly to the poor.

Caitlin Moniz

Ending poverty requires figuring out what the poor really need — and letting them make that decision.

What do they really believe — and does it even matter?

Caitlin Moniz

Understanding the real motives of Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, and Julian Assange.

Want to break gender stereotypes? Teach boys home economics.

Erin Amato

It will teach boys a practical skill (and could very well improve America's marriages).

Is the UK-US “special relationship” headed for a breakup?

Marlene Uribe

An "it's not me, it's you" feeling is spreading in the U.K.

Does fear of ‘cultural colonialism’ influence Africa's anti-gay laws?

Erin Amato

Is the legacy of colonialism an actual factor in anti-gay laws, or is it just window dressing to distract from homophobia?

Do we have an obligation to find a less cruel way to kill inmates?

Marlene Uribe

Lethal injection may be "less barbaric" than some alternatives, but it's still barbaric. Is there a better alternative?

A Super PAC to end all Super PACs

Caitlin Moniz

An irony in campaign finance reform: no one capable of making a change is interested, and no one bent on reform is wealthy enough to make it happen. Can a new Super PAC change that?