November 4, 2009
Contact:
Emerson Brown, NPR


   

NPR NEWS' ALL THINGS CONSIDERED ASKS "WHAT'S NEXT IN AFGHANISTAN?"
DURING HOUR-LONG SPECIAL NOVEMBER 5 AT 4PM (ET)

ENTIRE HOUR OF PROGRAM WILL EXAMINE CHALLENGES, STRATEGIC OPTIONS,
WITH REPORTING AND ANALYSIS FROM NPR'S FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS

November 4, 2009; Washington, D.C. – As President Barack Obama considers a new strategy for the eight-year-old war in Afghanistan, and the debate continues over whether to deploy tens of thousands of additional troops to the country, NPR News' All Things Considered will devote an hour of its program on Thursday, November 5 to examine "What's Next in Afghanistan?" This special reporting will air in the first hour of the afternoon newsmagazine, and during that time will seek answers to many questions Americans have about the war – while also providing careful analysis of the challenges the U.S. faces in Afghanistan, and the strategic options available. NPR.org will complement the series with interactive timelines and maps measuring American involvement in Afghanistan.

"What's Next in Afghanistan?" will be hosted by Robert Siegel and Michele Norris of All Things Considered, and will draw on the resources of NPR's foreign and Washington-based correspondents, including Kabul bureau chief Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson; Julie McCarthy from Islamabad; Pentagon reporter Tom Bowman, currently on his second embed since June with U.S. forces in southern Afghanistan; and Washington-based intelligence and Pentagon correspondents Tom Gjelten and Mary Louise Kelley. Through conversations with and reporting from NPR's correspondents, Siegel and Norris will seek answers to several basic but difficult questions commonly held by Americans about the war, such as: what is the United States doing in Afghanistan; who is the enemy; is Afghanistan governable; and what should the U.S. do next?

The program will also hear from former members of the Afghan government, military strategists with knowledge of Afghanistan and security forces experts. The hour will conclude with a presentation of some of the strategic options available to American officials, and a collection of voices answering what success would look like in Afghanistan. Following the broadcast, listeners can submit questions about Afghanistan strategy at NPR.org, to be answered over the following week by three experts interviewed as part of the program: Max Boot, senior fellow for National Security Studies, at the Council on Foreign Relations; Col. Thomas X. Hammes (Ret.), senior military fellow at the National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies; and Austin Long, Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs, at Columbia University.

To time with the series, NPR.org will aggregate all questions raised by the All Things Considered special, and offer concise answers to each. The site will also feature a timeline of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, and maps depicting where U.S. troops have been stationed during that time. The work of NPR photojournalist David Gilkey, who has spent many of the past four months in Afghanistan, will be collected at NPR.org.

"What's Next in Afghanistan?" is part of NPR News' continued emphasis on covering the critical stories emerging from the region. NPR maintains a permanent bureau in Kabul led by bureau chief Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, whose frequent reports are heard across all of NPR's programming. For the past several months and through December, NPR is following a Marine unit on deployment from Camp Lejeune to southern Afghanistan, embedding with the Marines abroad and reporting on how their families are coping at home. The series is named after what the unit calls itself – "America's Battalion" – and is being reported by a team of reporters and Gilkey. Visit the Afghanistan section of NPR.org for all related coverage.

With 17 foreign bureaus and offices, more than any other major U.S. broadcast network, NPR News offers daily in-depth international coverage that is consistently recognized for broadcast excellence. In the region, NPR maintains permanent bureaus in Kabul, Baghdad, New Delhi, Cairo and Jerusalem; its newest international bureau, in Islamabad, Pakistan, opened in April 2009.

All Things Considered, NPR's signature afternoon newsmagazine, is hosted by Melissa Block, Michele Norris, and Robert Siegel and reaches more than 12 million listeners weekly. To find local stations and broadcast times, visit NPR.org/stations.