In the years following the U.S. invasion, the Afghan capital teemed with Americans and Europeans. Most of them moved in with the security forces and the United Nations. Others, like Sarah Takesh, came to Kabul for a very different reason - to start businesses. In 2003, just a year after the U.S. invasion, Takesh set up a clothing company, employing Afghan women to embroider skirts and tops. She was optimistic about Afghanistan, as were most Afghans. But by 2008, it felt dangerous.
Michael Semple has been working in Afghanistan for more than 20 years. He is a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. And he joins us now from the studios of WGBH in Boston.
Welcome to the program, Mr. Semple.
MICHAEL SEMPLE: Hello.
MARTIN: So, what does the United States want from talks with the Taliban?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
NATO allies officially handed over responsibility to the Afghanistan security forces this past week. President Obama has said that all U.S. combat troops will be out by the end of 2014. In this hour, we'll get several perspectives on what that means for Afghanistan. In a moment, we'll hear from one American businesswoman who left her Kabul business behind after five years.
WEEKEND EDITION's travel segment Winging It aims to bring you advice and ideas about different ways to spend your free time. Winging It also gives you the chance to get on the air, to share your own personal experiences with the more unusual and innovative ways you spend your vacation time.
The protests that started almost a month ago in Istanbul's Gezi Park have brought all different kinds of people out onto the streets. Most of the protesters are young and many have described themselves as being previously apolitical. Ayse Ozdel is a 21-year-old college student who grew up in Istanbul. Ayse, thanks so much for being with us.
AYSE OZDEL: You're welcome.
MARTIN: When did you first get involved in these protests and what triggered your involvement?
I'm a cookbook reviewer, which means that every night I try recipes from far-flung cuisines or idiosyncratic food bloggers or test-kitchen perfectionists. I've always made a point of steering readers towards practical, thoughtful cookbooks that they'll use every week and hand down to their kids. But privately, there are some cookbooks I never cook from at all: frivolous books full of whimsical sugar art, devoid of nutritional value, and really, best eaten with your eyes.
Every weekend, I rise at 7 a.m. to get on the subway to hunt for apartments. The cheapest two-bedroom homes in the suburbs of Shanghai cost $200,000 or more, which would take me more than 12 years to pay off — if I don't spend a dime of what I make.
This is the reality of China's boom. After decades of explosive growth, the cost of living in China's big cities has skyrocketed, and many young people have been priced out of the housing market.
Does extreme mean anything anymore? Take the X Games. When the competitions began in 1995, the idea of defying gravity with skate- and snowboards was fringey and far out. Now the X games seem to come around every month or so. Snowboarder Shaun White has chewing gum named for him. Extreme weather happens nearly every day. Political extremists get elected all the time.
Working its way through the Ohio Legislature is a state budget bill that has major implications for the way family-planning services are provided. The Ohio budget contains language that puts family-planning clinics at the bottom of the list to receive funding.
Family Planning Association of Northeast Ohio operates several independent family-planning clinics. They do not provide abortions and have no affiliation with Planned Parenthood, but the clinics are still at the end of the line under a new tiered system because they give referrals.
Poached ivory is destroying wild populations of elephants and rhinos across Africa and Asia. The strong demand for ivory takes an estimated 25,000 elephant lives each year.
Now, the government of the Philippines is sending a message to poachers and smugglers, by destroying five tons of ivory confiscated in the country. On Friday, environmentalists, government officials, and the public gathered in Quezon City to witness the pulverization.
From Turkey to Brazil, tens of thousands of protesters are trying to get their voices heard. But what makes an effective protest? Host Jacki Lyden speaks with Bibi van der Zee of The Guardian and author of The Protestor's Handbook about the history of protests and strategies demonstrators use to broadcast their cause.
Host Jacki Lyden checks in with NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro about the ongoing protests in Brazil. Despite comments of reassurance by the country's president Friday night, throngs of anti-government protesters continue to rally in cities across the country.
Host Jacki Lyden and The Atlantic's national correspondent James Fallows chat discuss the U.S. government's filing charges of espionage against former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. Also, President Obama talked nuclear weapons during a speech in Berlin, and Fallows explains the "Tobin Tax" and what it has to do with the stock market and you.
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff has pledged a nationwide overhaul of public transportation, improved funding for schools and a crackdown on corruption in response to sometimes violent anti-government protests that have roiled the country for the past week.
In a 10-minute address broadcast on Friday, Rousseff broke her silence on the protests, saying she would spend more money on public transportation and divert some of the country's oil revenues to pay for education, The Associated Press reported. She also addressed widespread anger over government corruption.