It is a war that has changed the geo-political realities of several nations -- and left a trail of death, destruction and doubts in its wake.
As the world's sole superpower and other aspiring superpowers discuss the likely fate and way forward for Afghanistan, we bring you some more haunting images of a very, very long war.
Crosses commemorating the British military casualties in Afghanistan are seen in the Field of Remembrance outside Westminster Abbey in central London November 10, 2011
Private First Class Benjamin Brickman of Albany, New York, from the 1st Battalion 8th Marines Alpha Company walks through a sandstorm at his remote outpost near Kunjak in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, October 28, 2010.
US servicemen sit inside a C-17 Globemaster waiting to take off for Afghanistan at Manas Air Base near Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek, February 13, 2009.
H N Donald Howard of Columbus, OH and from the First Battalion Eighth Marines Alpha Company stands beneath camouflage netting at an outpost in Deh Karez in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, February 17, 2011.
Michael Harris, commander of US Army's Alpha Company, 1st Battalion of 32nd Infantry Regiment, speaks with an Afghan family during a patrol near Nawapass village, Kunar province, eastern Afghanistan February 6, 2009.
Monica McNeal (Right) cries as she hugs a US Marine at the grave of her 19-year-old son Eric Ward, at Arlington National Cemetery, May 27, 2010. Lance Corporal Eric Ward, a fourth-generation US Marine, was killed in Afghanistan on February 21, 2010.
A machine gunner from the First Battalion, Eighth Marines Bravo Company wears a bandolier of bullets around his neck at his base in Talibjan after a patrol in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, November 9, 2010.
US Army soldiers from Alpha Company 2nd battalion 27th infantry (The Wolfhounds), Task Force No Fear climb upon arrival to Observation Post Mace from Forward Operating Base Bostick in eastern Afghanistan Naray district, Kunar province near border of Pakistan August 26, 2011.
US Air Force TSgt. Jennifer Kinney treats a soldier who is suffering from combat stress at Combat Stress Control Clinic of 125 BSB Charlie Medical Company of Task Force Mustang at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Shank, in Logar province, eastern Afghanistan November 11, 2011.
A soldier with the Canadian Army's 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, conducts a patrol through the village of Bazaar e Panjwaii, in the Panjwaii district of Kandahar province August 8, 2010.
An explosion is seen after airstrikes by NATO-led forces during fighting between the Afghan and foreign troops and the Taliban insurgents in Shewa district of Nanagarhar province July 17, 2011
Taliban militants join the Afghan government's reconciliation and reintegration programme, in Kandahar April 11, 2011
Afghan policemen stand next to a captured Taliban fighter after a gun battle near the village of Shajoy in Zabol province March 22, 2008.
A group of men detained for suspected Taliban activities are held for questioning at a schoolhouse in the village of Kuhak in Arghandab District, north of Kandahar July 9, 2010.
An Afghan soldier shoulders his weapon as a helicopter lifts off after a firefight against Taliban insurgents in Sangasar, Zari district in eastern Afghanistan, July 3, 2007.
A German soldier changes oil a wheel on an armoured personnel carrier (APC) in the German camp in Mazar e Sharif August 20, 2009.
A stone, painted and inscribed by French-Canadian soldiers thanking families back home for their support, stands on a mountaintop overlooking a valley in the Panjwaii district of Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan October 25, 2007.
A British soldier from the NATO International Security Assistance Force gives sweets to children during a patrol in Kabul on December 24, 2007.
White House staff, press and Secret Service personnel sit outside a luxury trailer where former US first lady Laura Bush flew in privacy inside a C-17 military aircraft for seven hours from Afghanistan to Slovenia, after a surprise visit to Afghanistan, June 8, 2008.
A US soldier of 2-12 Infantry 4BCT-4ID Task Force Mountain Warrior takes a break during a night mission near Honaker Miracle camp at the Pesh valley of Kunar Province August 12, 2009.
US soldiers search for weapons on an Afghan man, who works for a private security firm escorting truck convoys, after they found illegal weapons in his vehicle, in a village near Kandahar April 27, 2008.
A local farmer pulls out his pants as he is questioned by Afghan Army soldiers during a joint patrol with troops from the US Army's Alpha Company, 2-508 Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team near the village of Jilga in Arghandab District north of Kandahar July 8, 2010.
US SPC Henry Rosenquist of 2-12 Infantry 4BCT-4ID Task Force Mountain Warrior sits in the computer room in Honaker Miracle camp at the Pesh valley of Kunar Province August 13, 2009.
Graffiti left behind by Taliban fighters remains on the walls of a compound now used as a command center for the U.S Marine Corps's First Battalion, Eighth Marines at Musa Qala in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, November 10, 2010. Musa Qala is an important battleground in the war against Taliban insurgents and the narcotics industry. The town has changed hands several times, most recently in December 2007 when Afghan and international forces retook the town from the Taliban.
US flight medic, SGT Billy Raines from CCO, 1-214 AVN Medevac task force Destiny, treats a wounded Afghan Army soldier during a Medevac flight in southern Afghanistan's Helmand Province November 3, 2010.
US Army soldiers from the 2nd Platoon, B battery 2-8 field artillery, fire a howitzer artillery piece at Seprwan Ghar forward fire base in Panjwai district, Kandahar province southern Afghanistan, June 12, 2011.
US Army soldiers from 2-35 infantry battalion kneel during a memorial ceremony in forward firebase Joyce in Kunar province, July 7, 2011. Four US Army soldiers -- Lieutenant Dimitri Del Castillo, Staff Sergeant Nigel Kelly, Specialist Levi Nuncio and Specialist Kevin Hilaman -- two Afghan National Army soldiers, an Afghan linguist and Agdar, a military sniffer dog, died during operations in Kunar district in the last week of June 2011.
Soldiers with the US Army's 1-320 Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division shield themselves from the dust as a Medivac helicopter takes off outside Combat Outpost Nolen in the Arghandab Valley north of Kandahar July 30, 2010. One soldier lost his leg and another was hit by shrapnel after an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blew up during a patrol near the base.
Soldiers from the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade walk into a welcome home ceremony as they return from a yearlong tour in Afghanistan in Fort Drum, New York, October 21, 2011
Thanks to Reuters and Rediff (REPOSTED FROM 2012)