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FROM THIS EPISODE

The "partnership" that's key to western strategy in Afghanistan has been shattered by the burning of Korans and the assassination of two Americans in a supposedly secure location. We get the latest from Kabul, an update on damage control and the potential political consequences here at home. Also, does the Post Office have a future in the Internet age? We look at proposed cuts in service, post office closings and an increase in the price of a first-class stamp.

Banner image: Afghan demonstrators burn a US flag during a protest against Koran desecration in Helmand province on February 23, 2012. Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images

Producers:
Karen Radziner
Katie Cooper
Sonya Geis
Anna Scott
Caitlin Shamberg

Main Topic Violence over Koran Burning Threatens US-Afghan 'Partnership' 31 MIN, 58 SEC

The burning of holy books that Americans call "accidental" has exposed the seething anti-Americanism in much of Afghanistan. Nationwide protests continue, and two American advisors were assassinated this weekend in an office accessible only to the most trusted personnel. Since then, all NATO advisors have been withdrawn from Afghan ministries. All this has cast doubt on the so-called "partnership" that's essential to the strategy for a western troop withdrawal by 2014. Today, nine Afghans were killed by a suicide bomber near and American air base. With the US focused on damage control, we look at the military and diplomatic fallout and how it's playing on the presidential campaign trail.

Guests:
Alissa Johannsen Rubin, New York Times (@alissanyt)
Greg Jaffe, Washington Post (@GregJaffe)
Chris Mason, Center for Advanced Defense Studies
Brian Katulis, Center for America Progress (@Katulis)
Michael Hirsh, National Journal (@michaelphirsh)

Making News Shelling Continues in Syria following Referendum Vote 7 MIN, 36 SEC

Official Syrian television reports a 57 percent turnout in yesterday's constitutional referendum, with 90 percent voting for reforms advocated by President Assad. Today, his troops continued the shelling in Homs and other cities. Borzou Daragahi reports for the Financial Times.

Guests:
Borzou Daragahi, Financial Times (@borzou )

Reporter's Notebook Does the Post Office Have a Future in the Internet Age? 11 MIN, 26 SEC

Starting in May, the US Postal Service plans to close 252 of its 487 mail processing facilities and thousands of post offices around the country. Next-day and Saturday service will be things of the past if 150,000 jobs are eliminated by the end of the year. If the US Post Office is making a profit, why is it planning to close processing facilities and post offices and to lay off employees?

Guests:
John Beaumont, National Association of Letter Carriers (@NALC_National)
James Gattuso, Heritage Foundation

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