Last month, the Taliban carried out their largest coordinated attack across Afghanistan, including three sites inside the capital Kabul. It took an 18-hour gunfight to end the assault.
But even as they took cover, Kabul residents saw something new: their own soldiers taking the lead, with limited help from NATO. Television footage showed Afghan soldiers moving confidently into the building where the militants were holed up, avoiding reckless gunfire that might have endangered civilians in the crowded city.
"The United States has for several years been secretly releasing high-level detainees from a military prison in Afghanistan as part of negotiations with insurgent groups," reports The Washington Post, which calls the program "a bold effort to quell violence, but one that U.S. officials acknowledge poses substantial risks."
As we just heard from Jackie, most drone strikes are in areas along the border with Afghanistan, places overrun in recent years by the Pakistani Taliban and other radical groups. And our next guest is using a form of soft power to fight terrorism there: mothers. Mossarat Qadeem is deploying mothers to pull their sons back from militancy.
What the Taliban are calling the start of their spring offensive kept security forces across Afghanistan fighting throughout Sunday and into this morning. Officials say 36 insurgents were killed in Kabul and three other eastern provinces. Three civilians died in the attacks, and eight members of the police and army were killed. American officials are praising Afghan forces, but questions remain about how the insurgents were able to infiltrate the most secure parts of the capital. NPR's Quil Lawrence reports.