The American military has had a continuous presence in Afghanistan for nearly 16 years, and the USO has been the Force Behind the ForcesSM every step of the way.

The USO has been by their sides in Afghanistan since 2002, when we began offering support to troops on the front lines following the U.S. military’s invasion of Afghanistan in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In April 2005, we cut the ribbon at Pat Tillman USO on Bagram Air Base and at the height of the war, from 2010-13, the organization operated 12 locations across the country. Today, with American troop levels below 10,000, the USO still has four centers – two locations on Bagram Air Base in addition to centers in Kandahar and on Operating Base Fenty. The USO regularly sends staff members to smaller bases to make sure service members stationed at remote locations are able to stay connected to family, home and country.

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Nearly service members visited the USO’s Pat Tillman Memorial Center to get autographs and have photographs taken with NFL players Jason Witten, Mario Williams, Joe Thomas and Vernon Davis in 2010.

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Service members relax, connect and enjoy their limited time off duty at USO Bagram East.

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At the USO, the tastes of home are never too far away – even if you’re stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

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Service members at Operating Base Fenty celebrate the USO’s 75th anniversary in 2016.

At the USO, they can call friends and family, play video games, watch TV and movies and enjoy the things that remind them of home. Most importantly, our men and women in Afghanistan know that Americans back home recognize their sacrifices and are grateful for their service.

Inside USO centers across Afghanistan, inspirational, heartfelt messages from everyday Americans are displayed for our troops to see. More than 2 million messages of support have been collected since the USO launched the effort in 2016, but we’re not stopping there. You can send your own personal message of support to our men and women in uniform right now.

While others debate the future of the Afghan War and the uncertainties surrounding it, one thing is definite: The USO’s on-the-ground support of American men and women serving in Afghanistan will continue, as it has for nearly 16 years.