Afghanistan's national soccer team has achieved what no other institution has managed to do recently: unify the country. The team won a tough South Asian tournament last week, and Afghans across the country took to the streets to fire their guns and celebrate. Renee Montagne talks to Ahmad Arash Hatifie, who plays midfield for Afghanistan.
This week, a group of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, many with disabilities, marked Sept. 11 by climbing two peaks in Yosemite National Park. Climbing as a team, they say, gives them an opportunity to recapture what they miss about the military: a sense of camaraderie with a shared challenge.
As the deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan approaches, Afghans have taken over the lead combat role in places like restive Helmand province. But U.S. forces are still engaged in major training efforts to make sure the Afghan-led security is sustainable.
The Taliban conducted a series of deadly attacks across Afghanistan this week, killing civilians, Afghan forces and several NATO service members. But they are targeting far fewer NATO troops these days, because those troops are focused on training and advising the Afghan army. NPR's Sean Carberry spent five days with U.S. Marines in one of Afghanistan's chronic hot spots and speaks with host Scott Simon.
For the victims and witnesses who came from Afghanistan to testify, the U.S. and its justice system were very strange. But seeing Staff Sgt. Robert Bales be sentenced to life in prison for killing 16 civilians brought them some peace. So too does their belief that he will suffer in the afterlife.
A group of Afghan victims and witnesses were flown to the U.S. for the sentencing hearing of Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales. Bales gunned down 16 people last year just outside his outpost in Kandahar province. Ahmad Shafi was asked to translate the proceedings to the group of Afghans, and he talks about the experience with Morning Edition host Renee Montagne.
Staff Sergeant Ty Michael Carter is receiving the nation's highest military honor. He feels privileged, but says "I would never tell any soldier or service member, 'Hey, go out and get the Medal of Honor', because of the amount of pain and loss and tears that has to be shed in order to receive it."
A military jury has sentenced Robert Bales, the U.S. staff sergeant who admitted killing 16 Afghan civilians in 2012, to life in prison without parole. During the punishment hearings held this week, Bales was confronted by family members of victims and people who survived the March 11, 2012, attacks.
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