The housing bubble in Afghanistan was created by the influx of international organizations and their thousands of workers over the last 12 years. As countries pull out of Afghanistan, rent prices are tumbling, vacancies are soaring and sales have flatlined.
This coming week, the U.S. Agency for International Development plans to announce a new monitoring program that is designed to keep track of the aid dollars being spent in Afghanistan. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Larry Sampler, head of USAID programs in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The United Nations has just released a grim report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan over the last year. Casualties rose 14 percent in 2013, with nearly 3,000 people killed and more than 5,500 injured.
President Hamid Karzai has balked at signing a security agreement with the U.S. According to The New York Times, representatives of the Taliban and Karzai have been in contact about a peace deal. It's thought Karzai may not want to sign the deal with the U.S. while he's talking to the Taliban.
One of the most dramatic changes in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban is the increase in life expectancy from 45 to 62 years. That gain is almost entirely a function of reductions in child mortality due to the spread of basic health services.
With the presidential campaigns underway, one of the questions commonly asked around Kabul is whether the election will be held at all this year. If it is, there are a handful of candidates who are likely to come out ahead.
Steve Inskeep talks to former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad about the ongoing stalemate between Afghan president Hamid Karzai and the Obama administration over the signing of a security agreement for U.S. troops.
From the Afghan capital Kabul, we get reaction to President Obama's State of the Union address. The president devoted only a couple paragraphs in the speech to Afghanistan. Was there much for people to react to?
The Pentagon is saying that it needs to keep 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014 to train Afghans and maintain a counterterror mission. But military officials are once again running into interference from Vice President Joe Biden. That's nothing new: Biden in particular has for years pushed for a counterterror option of only several thousand troops, though the military says that number is far too small. The Pentagon argues that Biden's proposal would mean the U.S. forces would be largely consigned to their bases.
Car theft is less a crime than a security threat in Kabul: It's feared that militants could use stolen vehicles as car bombs. So the police have started puncturing the tires of cars parked on the street after dark, a policy that's raising ire among those whose cars that have been "protected" this way.
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