Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, remain one of the biggest killers in Afghanistan. As NATO forces prepare to withdraw from the country, Afghans are learning the special skills needed to find and disarm these deadly weapons.
The training area near the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif is a large expanse of dirt and gravel, dotted with a few beat-up old taxis and scattered bunkers.
Imagine being able to rock a piano so well that Aerosmith wants you as its touring keyboardist. That's what happened to Russ Irwin, and he's been sharing the stage with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry for 15 years.
"I'm staring at their backsides," he tells NPR's David Greene. "It's an interesting place to be."
Mike Lee is one of the most conservative members of the Senate. The freshman Utah Republican was elected with strong Tea Party backing and, like Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, he's a man of the West.
Mention the possibility that Thune, 51, might team up with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and Lee's eyes light up: "I love John," he says. "He's articulate, passionate, collegial. I mean ... I think he'd be great."
It's summer. It's hot. And that means it's time for a particular kind of music: the kind that streams from church basements and empty lots, raising your spirit as high as the mercury. It's revival season.
Spirit Family Reunion isn't from Appalachia or the plains; the band is from Brooklyn. Its music, though clearly Americana-based, casts a wide enough net to elude classification.