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Mistrust And Miscommunication Stand In The Way Of Afghan Deal

The U.S. and Afghanistan are mired in an ongoing standoff over a proposed long-term security agreement. Analysts say that part of the reason the two countries can't close the deal is because of a trust and communications gap. Despite 12 years of fighting the Taliban together, the two countries still have trouble understanding each other's politics and interests. And that could result in the U.S. withdrawing all troops by the end of this year.

Gates 'Immediately' Became Emotionally Attached To Troops

Steve Inskeep continues his conversation with former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates about his new memoir, Duty. Gates discusses his personal relationship with the armed forces and the intense emotional toll of being secretary of defense at a time when the nation is conducting two wars.

The Struggle Against A Newly Resurgent Al-Qaida

Sunni leaders in Iraq are trying to retake control of two important cities in Anbar province. That's raising fears in Afghanistan, where al-Qaida operatives still reside near the border with Pakistan. The Washington Post's David Ignatius talks to NPR's Rachel Martin about the rise of al-Qaida-affiliated groups and America's relations with Afghanistan.

'Pious Spy' Article Casts Doubt On Taliban Chief's Death

Qari Ahmadullah was the Taliban's minister of intelligence. He held great power in Afghanistan, using mullahs to inform on the people. He was supposedly killed by the United States in an airstrike, but a piece in Harpers Magazine raises the question of whether he may still be alive. Morning Edition co-host Renee Montagne talks to journalist Mujib Mashal, whose piece is called "The Pious Spy."

White House Defends War Policy Against Memoir's Harsh Critique

Press secretary Jay Carney responds to a new book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, saying disagreement is a welcome part of a "robust" policymaking process.

Ex-Defense Secretary Gates Takes Aim At Obama In New Book

In Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, Robert Gates says the president was unsure the Afghan surge would work and was openly distrustful of military leaders. "I never doubted Obama's support for the troops, only his support for their mission," he writes. The book is scheduled for release Jan. 14.

Will Afghan Polling Data Help Alleviate Election Fraud?

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul has commissioned a series of polls to see who Afghans favor in the April election. But between security challenges and "social desirability" biases, it can be difficult to impossible to get a clear read of the Afghan people.

Texas Man Becomes Unlikely CFO Of Ragged Kabul Orphanage

After decades of war in Afghanistan, the country has thousands of orphans. One home for these children ended up with an improbable benefactor — an Iranian-American who came to Kabul to do rule of law development work, and stumbled into a side project working with disabled orphans.

Three NATO Personnel Killed By Bombing In Afghanistan

The attack comes as Afghan President Hamid Karzai continues to deliberate over a security pact with the U.S. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Facing Big Changes, Anxious Afghans Hope For The Best In 2014

The Afghans will elect a new president, and the U.S. combat mission will end. There are worries about a resurgent Taliban, the fragile economy and the future of women's rights. In short, Afghans are concerned about most everything.