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FROM THIS EPISODE

After 12 years, hundreds of billions of dollars and 2200 American lives, the US is withdrawing from Afghanistan. Has it been worth the cost? We hear the continued dispute about the condition of the country now and what to expect for the future. Also, Catholicism's first South American pope visits Brazil, and NASA's plan to capture an asteroid and learn how to protect our planet.

Banner image: Afghan security forces investigate at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul. Photo: Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

Producers:
Anna Scott
Sonya Geis
Kerry Cavanaugh

Today's Talking Point Congress Questions NASA’s Plan to Redirect Asteroids 8 MIN, 23 SEC

Last month, a 30-foot wide asteroid passed about four times closer to Earth than the moon. But in February, another small asteroid exploded over Russia and 1500 people were injured by flying debris. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration considers these wake-up calls and has surprised Congress and the space community by proposing what's called the "Asteroid Redirect Mission for next year's budget. Joel Achenbach, who covers science and politics for the Washington Post, has more on the plan — and the politics. 

Guests:
Joel Achenbach, Washington Post (@JoelAchenbach )

Making News South American Pope Visits Brazil 7 MIN, 49 SEC

As we begin this program, Pope Francis is about to land in Rio for World Youth Day in Brazil, the world's largest Catholic nation. The media contingent for his return to South America is said to number some 5000, and the visit is important for many reasons, as we hear from Rocco Palmo, who writes the widely-read Catholic blog, Whispers in the Loggia.

Guests:
Rocco Palmo, Whispers in the Loggia (@roccopalmo)

Main Topic Leaving Afghanistan: For Better or Worse? 33 MIN, 33 SEC

The search for Osama bin Laden turned into America's longest war and a vastly expensive exercise in trying to build one of the world's poorest nations. But critics say much of the country has been left out, while US dollars have fueled corruption that's even now raising the cost of American withdrawal. Meantime, the Taliban reportedly are divided, as one faction talks peace while the other waits to wage more war when Afghan forces are on their own. After twelve years of US involvement, what does Afghanistan look like now? What's in store for the future? 

Guests:
Kevin Sieff, Washington Post (@ksieff)
Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times (@mrosenbergNYT)
David Sedney, Defense Department (formerly)
Michael Semple, Harvard University

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