This report is part of "Those Who Serve," an occasional series that looks at those who wear the military uniform during a time of war.
It's early afternoon at a small outpost in eastern Afghanistan, and U.S. Army Sgt. Chris Cunningham, with the 10th Mountain Division, heads into a long, dusty tent to teach Afghan soldiers the basics of map reading.
After the sun sets, American soldiers help Afghan soldiers outside the wire. They pop artillery shells containing what's called an illumination round.
NATO troops pull out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, leaving some Afghans concerned about security. The withdrawal of foreign troops also opens up multiple chances for a successful democracy. A new generation is emerging in Afghanistan that is more educated, more connected with the world and more hopeful about the future than previous generations. Renee Montagne talks to with Shaharzad Akbar, chairperson for Afghanistan 1400; and Haseeb Humayoon, founding partner and director of QARA Consulting.
The tenuous nature of efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan were dramatically underscored Tuesday morning when gunmen attacked buildings near Afghanistan's presidential palace in Kabul as journalists were gathering to hear from President Hamid Karzai about nascent plans for peace 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.
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?