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During Speech, Obama Softens Tone On Afghan Pullout

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.
NPR

Obama Barely Mentions Afghanistan During Speech

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?
NPR

Pentagon, White House Are At Odds Over Afghanistan

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.
NPR

Punctured Tires In Kabul Are The Work Of Police, Not Punks

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.
NPR

Attack On Kabul Restaurant Prompts Security Review

Non-governmental organizations and restaurants are raising security protocols in the Afghan capital Kabul after last week's attack on a popular Lebanese restaurant. Twenty-one people, mostly foreigners, were killed. Some members of the international community say they anticipate more violence as elections draw closer.
NPR

Opium Poppy Growth Booming In Afghanistan

The U.S. has sent billions of dollars to Afghanistan for drug eradication, but to little effect. NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko, who testified on the hill Wednesday about the future of counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan.
NPR

Kabul Suicide Attack Kills 21 At Downtown Restaurant

At least 21 people — most of them foreigners — died when the Taliban struck a restaurant popular with Westerners in downtown Kabul on Friday. Two of them were Americans. It appeared to be a well-coordinated attack.
NPR

Restaurant Owner Loved The Patrons He Died Trying To Protect

The owner of the Taverna du Liban, attacked by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan Friday night, treated each of his customers as a personal friend. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson was a regular at the cozy Kabul restaurant, and remembers Kamal Hamade's friendship.
NPR

IMF, UN Staff Among 21 Killed In Kabul Restaurant Attack

A suicide attack at a Kabul restaurant popular with foreign nationals killed at least 21 people on Friday, including a senior official with the International Monetary Fund and four United Nations employees.
NPR

Gen. Dempsey: Better To Get Others To Solve Their Own Problems

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff talks with NPR about why it's often better to advise and assist than to get involved militarily. And he looks at the Pentagon's looming budget crisis.

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