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NPR

Afghan Assembly To Discuss U.S. Relations

The Loya Jirga, or grand assembly in Afghanistan, will gather 2,000 delegates from across the country to Kabul on Wednesday. The event has long been cast by opponents of President Hamid Karzai as the first step in his attempts to increase his power and perhaps extend his term beyond 2014. The Loya Jirga has no legal force, but with parliament suffering legitimacy problems, members of parliament fear Karzai is starting to establish an alternative over which he has much more control. The Jirga is supposed to consider a future strategic partnership with the U.S. as well as ways to re-start peace talks.
NPR

'Darkhorse' Battalion And The Afghan War

This past week, All Things Considered has been sharing stories about the Darkhorse Battalion — that's the Marine unit that suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the 10-year Afghan war. NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman wraps up the series today, as he tells weekends on All Things Considered guest host Laura Sullivan about some of the people he met — both on the battlefield and on the home front.
NPR

For Wounded Marines, The Long, Hard Road Of Rehab

Dozens of Marines from Darkhorse Battalion returned home with missing limbs and other injuries that will last a lifetime. Learning to cope with their injuries and figure out their futures is a slow, arduous process.
NPR

Afghan Security Under Attack As Troops Leave

The presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan met in Istanbul Tuesday to discuss how to stabilize Afghanistan as foreign troops leave. A suicide attack in Kabul Saturday left 13 NATO forces dead, part of a string of recent violence. Host Renee Montagne speaks with Seth Jones of the RAND Corporation about the state of security.
NPR

Strategy Behind A Marine Unit's Dangerous Mission

The Marines of Darkhorse Battalion suffered a high rate of casualties during their seven-month deployment to southern Afghanistan. Their mission was to go after the Taliban in a place called Sangin — a crossroads of insurgency and drug trafficking. At the time, officials in the military and all the way up to the secretary of defense asked why the Darkhorse Battalion was taking so many casualties. NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman is reporting all week on the battalion. On Wednesday, he speaks with Guy Raz about the strategy in Sangin: whether the Marines made mistakes and what they did to reduce causalities and complete the mission.

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