Afghanistan is one of the world's poorest countries, wrecked by decades of conflict which led to the rise of the Islamist fundamentalist movement, the Taliban.
Despite the fall of the Taliban after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the security situation remains tense as extremists continue to stage regular attacks.
Militants have killed at least 43 people in an hours-long assault on a government compound. No group has claimed responsibility for the brazen attack that involved a suicide bombing and a hostage situation.
After announcing the complete withdrawal of US troops from Syria, the US looks set for a major pullout from Afghanistan. The reported plan has prompted mixed reactions on the part of Afghan officials and Western partners