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After 12 years and many billions of dollars, the US still wants a residual force to remain when combat troops withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of this year. What's at stake for the Taliban and Afghan women?  Will there still be support in this country for continued involvement? Also, low expectations for current round of Iran nuclear talks, and members of Pussy Riot detained and released in Sochi.

Banner image: Afghan President Hamid Karzai listens to President Barack Obama at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 1, 2012. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Low Expectations for Current Round of Iran Nuclear Talks 7 MIN, 34 SEC

Despite predictions of failure from leaders on both sides, six world powers began talks with Iran today. The goal is a final settlement on Tehran's contested nuclear program.  Vienna is the location of the first round of high-level negotiations since an interim deal was reached in November. United Nations Bureau Chief Louis Charbonneau is there for Reuters News Service

Louis Charbonneau, Reuters (@lou_reuters)

What Will the US Leave Behind in Afghanistan? 35 MIN, 55 SEC

When the US military complained that 65 "dangerous" prisoners were released without trial, President Karzai told it to stop "harassing" Afghan courts. At the same time, Karzai is negotiating with the Taliban, creating fears of a new "war against women" after 12 years of progress. A new president, to be elected in April, might or might not reach agreement to maintain the US and other western forces beyond the end of this year. Will there still be support in this country for continued involvement after the longest war in American history?

Rod Nordland, New York Times (@rodnordland)
Michael O'Hanlon, Brookings Institution (@MichaelEOHanlon)
Manizha Naderi, Women for Afghan Women (@ManizhaNaderi)
Mark Juergensmeyer, University of California, Santa Barbara (@juergensmeyer)

Toughing It Out in Afghanistan

Michael E. O'Hanlon

Pussy Riot Members Detained in Sochi 7 MIN, 25 SEC

Before the Olympics, Vladimir Putin released two members of Pussy Riot from prison. Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova then toured the US and Europe. Today, they were detained by police in Sochi, along with others. On Twitter, Tolokonnikova says the protest band is in Sochi to record the musical film, "Putin will teach you to love the motherland." She also claims police, "dragged me across the floor of the police station assembly hall office by my face, they twisted my arms and threw me to the floor." Michael Weiss, a fellow at the Institute of Modern Russia, is editor in chief of The Interpreter, a daily online journal that translates Russian press reports into English.

Michael D. Weiss, Daily Beast / The Interpreter (@michaeldweiss)

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