00:00:00 | 3:02:50




We thread our way through American efforts to end 12 years of war in Afghanistan. With players including the Karzai government, the Taliban, Pakistan and India, we look at the host of challenges facing American diplomacy as the fighting goes on. Also, the Supreme Court sends affirmative action case back to the Appeals Court, and fugitive leaker Edward Snowden, who has complicated US relations with China and Russia in the name of open government.

Banner image: Muhammad Naeem (2nd R), a spokesman for the Office of the Taliban of Afghanistan, stands next to a translator speaking during the opening of the Taliban Afghanistan Political Office in Doha June 18, 2013. Photo: Mohammed Dabbous/Reuters

Main Topic On-Again, Off-Again Talks with the Taliban 41 MIN, 16 SEC

Efforts to end America's 12-year war in Afghanistan are on shakier ground than ever.  When the US arranged talks in Qatar between the Taliban and Afghanistan's current government, President Obama called it "an important first step in reconciliation." Then the Taliban opened an office in Qatar called, "The Political Office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," the name they used when they ruled the country. President Karzai said he would not attend after the Taliban started behaving like a former government with plans to return to power. Are the Taliban running out the clock, taking advantage of President Obama's announced plan to withdraw troops by 2015? How much are the conflicting agendas of Pakistan and India adding to the diplomatic confusion?  We hear a variety of opinions.

Ahmed Rashid, Pakistani journalist
Alissa Johannsen Rubin, New York Times (@alissanyt)
Sarah Chayes, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (@CarnegieEndow)
Vanda Felbab-Brown, Brookings Institution (@VFelbabBrown)

Aspiration and Ambivalence

Vanda Felbab-Brown

Today's Talking Point White House in a Bind on Snowden's Travel 9 MIN, 28 SEC

In the professed interest of government transparency and with help from WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange, Edward Snowden has fled from China to Russia and reportedly plans to seek refuge in Ecuador after landing in Cuba, all countries with draconian limits on freedom of information. Today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called it a "deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant, and that decision unquestionably has a negative impact on the US-China relationship." Reid Epstein is White House reporter for Politico.

Reid Epstein, Politico (@reidepstein)

Subscribe to the 5 Things To Do newsletter

Never miss the best of what to do with your free time.


More From To the Point



View All Events


Player Embed Code