Afghanistan

Agriculture
1:45 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Afghan Farmers: Opium Is The Only Way To Make A Living

An Afghan farmer collects raw opium as he works in a poppy field in Nangarhar province on April 29. Poppy cultivation reached a record high this year despite Western efforts to reduce it.
Noorullah Shirzada AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 5:33 pm

Lashkar Gah is the capital of the volatile province that alone grows half of Afghanistan's opium poppy. Cultivation here grew by 34 percent over last year.

On Fridays, hundreds of men gather at the bazaar along the Helmand River, the lifeblood of this arid province. Vendors sell everything from livestock to boxes of artisanal medicine.

There's no sign of poppy here. In fact, the farmers we talk to like 26-year-old Khairullah, who goes by one name, say they are actually too poor to grow it.

Read more
10:09 am
Tue October 8, 2013

Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai Says NATO Caused Great Suffering

Lead in text: 
President Hamid Karzai has criticized NATO for failing to bring stability to Afghanistan in over a decade there. He is also in no hurry to sign a security agreement with the US, stating, "If the agreement doesn't suit us then of course they can leave. The agreement has to suit Afghanistan's interests and purposes."
President Hamid Karzai has criticised Nato for failing to bring stability to Afghanistan in over a decade there. "On the security front the entire Nato exercise was one that caused Afghanistan a lot of suffering, a lot of loss of life, and no gains because the country is not secure," he said.
Afghan Massacre
6:49 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Thought Of 'Flames Of Hell' For Sgt. Bales Comforts Afghans

Sadiqullah (center), who was shot by Staff Sgt. Robert Bales and was a witness in the trial, stands with some of the Afghan civilians who traveled from Kandahar to the U.S. for Bales' trial. Translator Ahmad Shafi is at left, in the blue shirt.
Martin Kaste NPR

It was jarring for survivors and witnesses of the 2012 attack by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales on two villages in Afghanistan to come to the U.S. to testify at his trial this month, translator Ahmad Shafi tells Morning Edition.

They were at Washington State's Joint Base Lewis-McChord — a place much different than their homes in Kandahar. What's more, the U.S. military's system of justice was strange to them.

Read more
Staff Sgt Robert Bales
11:38 am
Fri August 23, 2013

U.S. Soldier Sentenced To Life In Afghan Village Attacks

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, foreground, is seen in a courtroom sketch earlier this week, as prosecutor Lt. Col. Jay Morse, right, speaks to the jury. Bales was sentenced to life in prison without parole Friday.
Peter Millett AP

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 1:14 pm

A military jury has sentenced Robert Bales, the U.S. Army staff sergeant who admitted to 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 attacks of March 11, 2012.

Read more
Military Trial
9:59 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Emotional Testimony: Bales' Sentencing Trial Begins For Massacre In Afghanistan

In this courtroom sketch Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, foreground, is seated as prosecutor Lt Col. Jay Morse, right, speaks to the jury in a courtroom at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., August 20, 2013.
AP Photo/Peter Millett

Staff Sgt Robert Bales, who pleaded guilty in June to the murder of 16 Afghan civilians, is being tried before a military jury of six who will decide whether he should be eligible for parole. Nine Afghan villagers who survived the massacre have flown to Joint Base Lewis-McChord for the sentencing trial.

Read more
Soldiers Return Home
11:27 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Northwest Soldier Homecomings Signal End Of War In Afghanistan

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 5:01 pm

For more than a decade, Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord has been sending soldiers off to war and welcoming them back home. Now this cycle of deployments and homecomings is winding down.

Over the next month, more than 1,000 soldiers from the 4th Stryker Brigade will return home. More than 200 were welcomed back Wednesday. And this time they don’t expect to go back to Afghanistan.

Read more
Prisoner Swap Possibility
8:21 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Taliban Statement Renews Hope For Idaho Soldier's Release

IntelCenter

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 2:15 pm

News that the Taliban is open to a prisoner swap is bringing renewed hope to supporters of a captive soldier from the Northwest.

Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho, has been a Taliban prisoner for nearly four years now, and there's still no timeline for his return.

A senior Taliban spokesman in Doha, Qatar, told the Associated Press that the group would be willing to turn over Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban operatives held at Guantanamo Bay. It would be the first step – a confidence building measure – in wider negotiations over the future of Afghanistan.

Read more
Taliban Peace
7:31 am
Tue June 18, 2013

U.S. Says Talks With Taliban Could Begin In Days

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 8:37 am

U.S. officials say the Taliban has agreed to begin long-stalled negotiations with the Afghan and American governments at the group's new political office in Doha, Qatar.

The talks with the U.S. could begin in days, NPR's Scott Horsley tells our Newscast unit. He says the milestone agreement comes after months of "diplomatic spadework."

Read more
Afghan Reaction To Plea
1:43 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Afghan Massacre Survivors React To Bales' Guilty Plea

A rural village in Afghanistan
Credit Flickr photo/ Ricardo Mangual

Yesterday US Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales pleaded guilty to a brutal massacre. The night time killings took place on March 11 of last year in two small villages located near a remote military camp in Kandahar. Since the massacre Associated Press reporter Kathy Gannon has spent a lot of time with the survivors and the families of the victims in Afghanistan. She describes how they've dealt with the massacre's emotional aftermath.

There's something exceptional about this interview. While it's possible to get swept up into the international drama of an event like the Bales massacre, Gannon reminds us that at the center of the media storm there are ordinary people who have suffered.

Full list of stories from KUOW Presents, June 6:

Read more
Judge Accepts Plea Bargain
2:50 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales Pleads Guilty To Afghan Murders

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales
High Desert Warrior

Correction 6/6/2013: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Staff Sgt. Bales was from Lake Tapps, Ohio.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the American soldier from Lake Tapps, Wash., charged with killing 16 Afghan civilians during night time raids on two villages last year, pleaded guilty Wednesday to avoid the death penalty. The judge, Col. Jeffery Nance has accepted his plea agreement which takes the option of the  death penalty off the table.

Read more
Afghanistan Tragedy
12:03 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

What Sgt. Bales’ Guilty Plea Means for Afghanistan And The United States

Masooma, pictured with her children, recounted the events of pre-dawn March 11, 2012 when she says a U.S. soldier rampaged through two villageskilling 16 people, mostly children. Sgt. Robert Bales plead guilty to the massacre today.
AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus

 Today Sergeant Robert Bales admitted to killing 16 Afghan civilians. How will Afghanis react if Bales does not get the death penalty?  What will that mean for the US troop withdrawal strategy? Patricia Murphy reports live from the trial, and Ross Reynolds interviews Larry Goodson, South Asian Specialist at the US Army War College; plus Kate Clark, a senior analyst with the Afghanistan analysts network, and President Hamid Karzai's brother Mahmood.

Afghan Special Forces
12:47 am
Tue June 4, 2013

As U.S. Troops Draw Down, Can Afghans Take The Lead?

Villagers in Kasan gather to meet with Afghan local police and the Afghan National Army along with ANASF team members during a morning shura to discuss security.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 8:25 am

There's just a sliver of light in the eastern sky as the patrol leaves the American compound through a thick metal door.

They scamper across Highway 2, a narrow asphalt road that leads to Kabul, just an hour's drive away — if not for the war. They cross an old graveyard and head toward the silhouette of a tree line, all seen through the eerie green glow of night-vision goggles.

Read more
Army
5:40 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Seattle Army Capt. Will Swenson Receives Medal Of Honor

Medal of Honor recipient Capt. Will Swenson.
Credit KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Ross Reynolds talks with Seattle Army Capt. Will Swenson about receiving the Medal Of Honor and his actions during the Battle of Ganjgal in Afghanistan.

This interview originally aired on November 8, 2013.

History
1:29 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Liberia: America's Original Self-Deportation Scheme

A man peers through a door in Liberia.
Credit Flickr photo/ kennethharper

In the decades leading up to the civil war, white Americans uncomfortable with the rising numbers of free blacks came up with a plan. Get rid of them. Specifically, convince them to resettle in Liberia. It was America's original "self-deportation" scheme. But things didn't go exactly according to plan.

List of stories from KUOW Presents,  May 15:

Read more
Religion
9:00 am
Tue February 19, 2013

The Interfaith Amigos On Death And Afterlife

Death is something we all grapple with. What do the world's major religions teach? The Interfaith Amigos join us with a look at what religion has to say about mortality and the afterlife.

Read more

Pages