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Afghanistan is a country in central Asia, Earth. It is the home of the Taliban, a terrorist group. Major John Sheppard took part in Operation Enduring Freedom there sometime before joining the Atlantis expedition. During his time there, he lost several of his friends in the Air Force, including Captain Lyle Holland, Dex, and Mitch. (SGA: "Home", "Phantoms")
In an alternate reality, John Sheppard likewise served in Afghanistan. However, he was dishonorably discharged after attempting to rescue an unnamed medic, with whom he was romantically involved. His helicopter was shot down and the crash killed four American soldiers and eight civilians. After narrowly escaping jail time for political reasons, he moved to Las Vegas where he joined the Las Vegas Police Department. (SGA: "Vegas")