The United States and its allies are helping Afghanistan emerging from more than 22 years of warfare, although substantial risk to Afghan stability remains. Before the U.S. military campaign against the orthodox Islamist Taliban movement began on October 7, 2001, Afghanistan had been mired in conflict since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The defeat of the Taliban has enabled the United States and its coalition partners to send forces throughout Afghanistan to search for Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters and leaders that remain at large, including Osama bin Laden. As the war against remaining Al Qaeda and Taliban elements winds down, the United States is shifting its military focus toward stabilizing the interim government, including training a new Afghan national army, and supporting the international security force (ISAF) that is helping the new government provide security.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974. Greek Cypriots, nearly 80% of the population, live in the southern two thirds of the island. Turkish Cypriots live in the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (recognized only by Turkey), with about 30,000 Turkish troops providing security. U.N. peacekeeping forces maintain a buffer zone between the two. Members of Congress have urged the Administration to be more active, although they have not proposed an alternative to the U.N.-sponsored talks.