Afghan soldiers stand at attention during a ceremony transferring authority from NATO-led troops to Afghan security forces in Afghanistan's Kunar province. The transfer of responsibility for security from NATO-led ISAF forces to Afghan troops is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.
America's exit strategy in Afghanistan is to have Afghan forces take the lead in fighting for their country. But too often these days, the job still falls to U.S. troops.
A senior officer in Afghanistan tells NPR that Americans continue to coddle Afghan forces and that this must stop. Tough love is in, the officer says. He says the Afghan forces are far more capable than the U.S. estimates and have simply grown accustomed to the U.S. doing everything for them.
That pretty much sums up the situation in southern Afghanistan earlier this year.
A visitor looks at a bank of TV screens at a consumer electronics show in Berlin. While TV and movies are available on many devices, consumers often struggle to find exactly what they want, television critic Eric Deggans says.
Credit Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Steve Jobs demonstrates the movie function of the iPad in 2010. The introduction of the tablet as a means of watching movies and television shows contributed to changing viewing habits.
While sitting on a couch and gazing at a 50-inch TV remains a popular pastime in America, smaller screens have also edged their way into our lives. Phones, tablets and video game devices crowd pockets and coffee tables, offering access to what used to be called "TV," at any time of the day.
Nick Staback, who lost both of his legs to a bomb in Afghanistan, talks with his mother, Maria Staback, in Scranton, Pa. Maria Staback took a leave of absence from her job to move in with her son while he was recuperating at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington, D.C.
Credit David Gilkey / NPR
Staback takes aim with a replica sniper rifle on his back porch in Scranton, Pa. After a year at Walter Reed, he's moving into an apartment with a friend near the hospital in Bethesda, Md.
On furlough from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center this summer, 21-year-old Nick Staback lounges on his parents' back porch in Scranton, Pa., taking potshots at sparrows with a replica sniper rifle. The long plastic gun fires pellets that mostly just scare the birds away.
It's been a tough year for Staback since his last foot patrol in Afghanistan.
"We [were] just channeling down a beaten trail, of course, you just don't know what's on it," he says. "We had the mine sweepers out front and everything like that."
It's largely forgotten now — but there was a time when the mere mention of Brooklyn would produce a cascade of laughs. It was like saying "woman driver" — surefire guffaws. Everybody from Brooklyn was supposed to be a character.
Every platoon in every war movie had one wise guy from Brooklyn in it. Brooklyn natives spoke funny. They said, most famously, "youse guys." At a time when African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics barely existed — visibly — in movies or on radio or television, Brooklyn was the all-purpose stand-in for our great American ethnic diversity.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with a tale of the singing whale. Scientists this week published a study of a captive beluga whale in San Diego. The whale began to sing, apparently after spending time close to people. It died several years ago, but left behind a recording that sounds like a person in the shower.
(SOUNDBITE OF WHALE SINGING)
INSKEEP: We do not know if during his lifetime the singing whale ever made it to a karaoke bar.
Pakistani security personnel stand guard in front of a burnt-out school following an attack by the Pakistani Taliban in the northwestern district of Upper Dir in June 2011. The Taliban have destroyed many schools in northwestern Pakistan.
Stop someone in the street. Ask them about the case of Malala Yousafzai. They will likely know — after the worldwide publicity given to her story — that Malala is the Pakistani teenager who was shot for demanding the right of girls to go to school.
They will surely know, too, that the people who shot Malala in the head from close range were the Pakistani Taliban. They will probably view Malala as the heroine she clearly is. And the Taliban will be seen as the violent fanatics that they surely are.
Meet a man with a powerful addiction — to running. Caleb Daniloff says he believes the sport saved him from addictions that were far worse, and he's written a new book, called Running Ransom Road: Confronting the Past, One Marathon at a Time, about his experiences.
Daniloff has run some familiar marathons — New York and Boston — but he's also been to a place not famous for outdoor running: Moscow.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks at a Microsoft event in San Francisco in July. This week, Microsoft launches Windows 8, a radical redesign of its operating system, as well as a new set of tablet computers.
Microsoft, the company that defined the PC, is still enormously profitable — but not as profitable as it once was.
This week, Microsoft will try to regroup. It is rolling out the largest upgrade of its Windows software in more than a decade. All of this is meant to help the company break into the exploding market for mobile.
While the company still commands a formidable computing empire, it is now under attack.
Microsoft's CEO is Steve Ballmer, a big, bombastic, balding guy. These days he's riled up about Windows 8.
Lance Armstrong became a bicycle racing legend when he won every Tour de France from 1999 to 2005. But after what happened today, there will be no official record of all those victories. Cycling's international governing body announced it will not appeal sanctions by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.